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Tips for Poor Pencil Grips

Learn how you can help your grade-schooler hold her pencil the right way.

Learning Benefits

Lots of kids grip their pencil in funny ways — and it’s worth correcting. An awkward hold can cause hand cramps and slow your girl down because she may need to move her entire hand or arm to write. Guide her to the correct form by resting the pencil on the first joint of her middle finger, then have her grasp it with the tips of her thumb and index finger. Her ring and pinky fingers should curl into her palm. Instead of forcing her, ease into it with these activities from Sarah Don, an occupational therapist in Baltimore, MD:

Trace a picture. After each stroke, your child should put down the pencil and pick it up again the correct way. The repetition will help train her muscles.

Color with crayon stubs. They force kids to use the tips of their fingers and improve their grips.

Have her hold a trinket between her ring finger and pinky. This trains the remaining fingers to grasp the pencil correctly.

Strengthen her hands. String beads, pop bubble wrap, play Cat’s Cradle.

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