How to teach kids to write

+55 votes
asked Oct 11, 2015 in Pregnancy & Parenting by MavisDeather (240 points)
I look after my granddaughter three days a week whilst my daughter goes to work. She’s only about 20 months old, but I wanted to encourage her development in any way I can (to make starting school easier, when the time comes). I know she’s still a long way off, but I’d love to teach her to write. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to teach kids to write? I’m looking for any exercises or games I can give her which would help her to develop this skill later on down the track.

5 Answers

+26 votes
answered Oct 26, 2015 by DerickComeau (360 points)
Learning to write is a pretty big ask for a baby – maybe start with a smaller milestone, like helping her learn to hold a pencil or draw with a crayon? You don’t want to put so much pressure on the kid that she ends up hating school before she’s even started.
+9 votes
answered Oct 12, 2015 by SabrinaV4272 (350 points)
I found it helped my son a lot when I was overly enthusiastic about any of his early efforts at writing. For example, he’d bring me a piece of paper with wavy lines drawn across it and tell me he’d written a letter. I’d pretend to read it, give him a big hug and put it proudly on the fridge. I repeated this process every time (the fridge was buried in “letters”) and he kept working at it until eventually the lines were replaced with scribbles that actually resembled letters and numbers.
+6 votes
answered Oct 13, 2015 by StephaniaGar (260 points)

Apparently a child needs a whole bunch of skills in order to learn to write. This includes the ability to grasp a pencil and the coordination to actually put the pencil to the paper and make marks on it. These are skills that your granddaughter will be practicing all the time anyway (holding objects, putting food in her mouth, etc.). One of the co-authors of Baby Minds: Brain-Building Games, Linda Acredelo PhD says that babies acquire “symbolic knowledge” when they’re around three years old (that is, they start to associate certain symbols with particular meanings). This is an important step towards writing and should be encouraged (when she points to a furious scribble and says “that’s you!” try to respond positively). You can also start reading books about colors, numbers, letters, etc. and get your granddaughter to help you point out the letters/numbers as you go (helps them to recognize more symbols). 

commented Oct 17, 2015 by Tha9330 (140 points)
thanks for your idea on how  to teach kids to write
+5 votes
answered Oct 31, 2015 by MichaelaHudd (240 points)
Some other great suggestions are “air writing” (getting your child to “draw” big letters in the air with their finger), finger painting (another opportunity to practice letters using their fingers), tracing (write big letters and then place paper over the top for them to trace) or alphabet puzzles (to familiarize them with the different letters).
+4 votes
answered Oct 12, 2015 by ElisabethIml (240 points)

I disagree with the first answer completely. The question is about how to teach kids to write, sure, but it is followed up by the clarification that they’re looking for “exercise or games I can give her which would help her to develop this skill later on down the track”. There is absolutely nothing wrong with helping babies/toddlers to develop skills that will better equip them for life as they get older. As a former kindergarten teacher and private nanny, I can attest to the fact that little things early on can make a big difference later. Your grand-daughter probably won’t understand the concept of writing until she’s about three, but in the meantime, spend time drawing with her. Even if you are just drawing letters or numbers with crayons alongside her, she will see that this is an activity that is fun and that you enjoy, making her more likely to want to copy you later. This will also give her practice with holding a crayon or pencil – a big step towards being able to write later on. I think it sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job as a grandparent and I encourage you to continue. 

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