The right habits now can help your child later.

Ways to Help Children Hold Their Crayons

by Kay Ireland

The way your child holds a crayon might seem like no big deal -- until you realize that it's a precursor to writing. That crayon then becomes a learning instrument that should be used properly. Getting a grip on crayon skills means a lot of time at the drawing board with your little Picasso. By getting the right supplies and a few gentle reminders, holding onto a pencil is the natural next step when your child graduates from crayons.

Better Tools

Chubby little toddler hands might be adorable, but they're not great for precise movements. Skinny crayons might be hard for younger kids to grip, so grab fatter art supplies that are easier to hang onto. Chubby crayons help perfect your child's grip, while a piece of paper taped to a table helps eliminate excess pressure or the worry that the paper will move around during the art session. That way, your child can concentrate on her scribbles, not the supplies she's using.

Motor Activities

Your child's motor skills might not be polished enough to hold a crayon properly, so non-art activities can help hone the skill. For instance, a lacing card, where your child threads a string through a few holes, can help. Manipulating clay to "trace" a picture is another activity you can try together, or have your child sort colored cereal pieces into small bowls. As she builds up her motor skills, she'll be better equipped to grasp her crayons.

Pencil Grip

One of the ways teachers teach school-aged kids to grip their pencils properly is a triangular, squishy pencil grip. Luckily, these fit perfectly on crayons and can help remind your child to hold crayons the right way. You can find them in school and office supply stores -- just buy a few so your little one doesn't have to constantly swap the grips from crayon to crayon when she's in the middle of creating a masterpiece.

Cotton Ball Reminder

You might notice that your little one can grasp crayons -- just not the right way. Crayons should be held the same way pencils are held, with the thumb on the bottom and the pointer and middle finger resting on the top. Clenching crayons or resting the crayon on the ring finger are common mistakes, so give your child something else to focus on. By slipping a cotton ball between the ring and middle finger, she'll learn to hold the crayons firmly -- not tightly -- and remember that the crayon doesn't rest on her ring finger.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

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