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Pencil grip at age 4....worry or let it go?


jewel7123
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My daughter turned 4 the end of June and she hold her pencil, pen, crayon, whatever she is using to color or write in a fist grip. Should I be worried about this or will she correct it herself? I don't want to let it go and then she's stuck writing that way because I didn't train her to hold the pencil properly. I just purchased a grotto grip (see below) and I've been trying to get her to write with it but she hates it and gets frustrated and wants to stop writing. We're not doing much writing to begin with....just tracing worksheets and some writing in her ETC Get Ready Book A. She can write out her first name.....on a blank piece of paper, not on lined paper, and the letters vary in size (some really big, some small, some capital, some lowercase, etc. She seems interested in learning to write more, at least until I pull out the grotto grip, lol. Any advice?

 

http://www.pathwaysforlearning.com/Products_-_Grotto_Grip.html

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Personally, I wouldn't let it go but I wouldn't harp on it, ya know? How much is she willing to do happily? Do that much and no more for awhile. Then, maybe she will enjoy it and then you can think about writing more. I would keep working on it though.

 

My 3yo can only write so much so I try to gauge when she is getting tired and try to stop then...or before, so she will enjoy it, you know? For example, yesterday, she wrote in her math worksheet, she did a spelling worksheet, and then for grammar, she was to write where she was from (Louisburg, North Carolina)...well, she was good until 1/2 way through Louisburg...it was just too much writing. That's just something we as parents/teachers have to pay attn to...

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Grips are more for older kids needing retraining from bad habits. I use a triangle pencil with my kids and fat pencils at first. Some use small golf pencils. It all depends on who you talk to what works for their kid.

However, do gently correct the grip. Don't make a big deal over it just reposition the fingers the right way.

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OK, this might sound a little off-the-wall, and I wasn't there for the full demo, but my son's very experienced kindergarten teacher taught the kids how to hold a pencil by comparing the grip to a cheese sandwich.

 

She even had two slices of faux-bread and a slice of yellow cheese (nothing too fancy, they may even have been felt).

 

The two bread slices (finger and thumb) hold the cheese (pencil) gently.

 

You can't have the cheese hanging out of the sandwich (gripping too high).

 

I wish I knew the whole "lesson", but this little visualization really worked with the kids, my son included. His grip and handwriting quickly improved.

 

Anyone ever heard of this "trick"?

 

Bill

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I let it go and now I have a 6 yr old that I have to constantly stay on top of to write correctly. He has a fist grip as well. The grips really didn't work for us either. The best thing that I've found is if you give them a small broken crayon then it forces them to use the right grip and takes less thought. The only problem is that my ds says he doesn't want to use a broken crayon. So if she doesn't care then I'd have her trace with the broken crayon. I also just ordered some crayon rocks from montessori services. They are crayons that look like pebbles or stones and they force the child to hold them correctly. Hopefully those will work for us since they ar cool crayons and not broken ones LOL

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I've spent the last month correcting my 6 year old's grip, and it was frustrating but she eventually caught on. Actually, a lot of what kept her from catching on was her own willfullness--she didn't understand why she should hold her pencil differently and didn't think she wrote better the "right" way. Once I had a talk to her, and her big sister told her how much of a difference it makes in the long run, she was willing to change her grip and it didn't take long.

 

I would gently try to correct her, but I wouldn't stand over her and nag too much, and I wouldn't make her use the grip-thingie. Just show her a couple times a day, "this is how we hold our pencils/crayons" and praise her when she does it.

 

As for the different sized letters, that's developmentally right on target. Letting her enjoy writing will serve you a lot better in the long run than perfect penmanship or perfect grip.

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I definitely would not let it go. Bad habits are so hard to fix later on. I bought a set of triangle shaped pencils with a different color on each side. They have corresponding stickers that go on the proper fingernails. My dd learned how to hold her pencil very quickly this way. My two year old can hold a pencil, crayon, marker correctly now also, because, as soon as she picked one up, I gently showed her how to hold it correctly. Now it's just second nature. Proper grip is critical to alleviate fatigue while writing.

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I will just let it go for now. My son is 5 now and when he was 4 he did the same thing. But one thing I did was to show him how to hold a pencil everyday. He then tries it and then eventually going back to the fist grip thing which is normal for young children. It's a gross motor skill and correct holding of pen is a fine motor skill. Just continuously show her how, and practice a little bit at a time and let her hold the pencil or crayon the way she is comfortable holding it with right now. It will improve gradually. I have seen a lot of improvements in my son's handwriting now and he doesn't complain that much anymore. And he is now holding his pencil the right way. So don't worry about it.

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Grips are more for older kids needing retraining from bad habits. I use a triangle pencil with my kids and fat pencils at first. Some use small golf pencils. It all depends on who you talk to what works for their kid.

However, do gently correct the grip. Don't make a big deal over it just reposition the fingers the right way.

I must respectfully disagree. It is never too early to work on a correct grip - bad habits are extremely hard to overcome. A grip is for anyone who needs one - including someone who grips correctly but holds the pencil/pen too tightly. For a normally developed hand, OT's strongly discourage fat pencils. Instead, use a regular pencil with a specific grip that is targeted to the grip problems the writer is having.

 

Pocket Full of Therapy has wonderful descriptions of each grip and the problem it targets.

 

Now, for a four year old child, like the OP, the best thing to do might be to put all of the handwriting stuff away for another 6 months, then pull it out and try again. It is far better to wait than to allow bad habits to form - finger muscles can be hard to re-train.

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it helped him a lot. I've also been trying to have him grab his crayon correctly. He actually likes it because he can color better.

 

I have horrible writing, and hold my pen/pencil incorrectly. I was never able to get my oldest to hold it right either. My 2nd dd held her pencil correctly for 4 years, then changed :glare: and now grabs it. My oldest boy holds it fine, and my 2nd son struggles.

 

I used a pencil grip for all of them. I think it's a helpful tool, but it doesn't seem to guarantee that they will always hold it correctly.

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I would mildly correct it now. Don't push her too hard & see how she reacts. 4 is a ltttle too early to have a good grip. Us the thick writing tools(markers, crayons, pencils etc).

If she still has a bad hold when he turns 5 going into kindergarten, you may to work a little more aggressively then.

 

My experience is when they get older it becomes a habit and very hard to correct. They refuse to use any kind of pencil grips & as soon as you turn around they remove it.

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I would not let it go. grips aren't really recommended.

 

Poor grip can adversely affect handwriting seriously. And muscle memory once created is hard to change.

 

Break all your crayons into small pieces (this encouages proper tripod grip) and work gently on picking up the implement correctly. Use short pencils like the mini golf places have. use crayons. use small pieces of chalk.

 

I would not allow any writing or coloring with the improper grip. Better to do nothing at all than to do it wrong and be forced later to try to overcome this muscle memory.

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Who said not to let it go. Even a slightly imporopet grip can really mess them up.

 

If she is using a fist grip I think she also might not be ready for formal writing instruction at all. So if you are doing that, drop it for a few months. In the meantime gently correct her when she writes for fun.

 

Also note how she holds her fork. It's not the same thing but I think it's related. It seems if dc can hold their fork correctly they are ready for formal handwriting. :)

 

then again my huge 6'4 stepdad tightfists his fork but has beautiful handwriting. :)

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When my ds was doing that, I found some crayola crayons that were triangle shaped. He loved coloring and using those cleared up the issue. I showed him how to hold them and monitored what he was doing a little at first, but it was a very easy way to correct the problem.

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I know this is an older thread but I thought I'd add a suggestion to work on strengthening the hand, especially the thumb/index finger so that the grip will become easier. Use a squishy ball, do some lacing, squeeze some clothes pins, etc. to increase the strength in the hand .

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