Hi all~ Kristi here. My helpful hint is based on what is happening now for some us and later at the end of the month for other- BACK TO SCHOOL! Returning to the school routine is bittersweet- at least for me it is.
I tried to give you my hints in a video but that was a disaster so you’re stuck with pictures. I wish I could provide some fabulous tip that would spice up your life but -sorry. I got nothing.
What I do have are tips for your soon to be school goer- Preschool and Kindergarten. Not only a writer, I have spent several years working with children and their motor development in the school system and this is what I know. This is not to taken as theraputic advice but only a helpful hint as you help your child with homework and handwriting.
For your PRESCHOOL child:
Learn the ABC’s including being able to identify them out of sequence.
Learn spatial language like top, bottom, behind, in front etc.
Learn shapes and know them by name
Develop fine motor skills including pencil grasp. The writing tool of choice to help develop those hand skills are small (preferably broken) crayons and golf pencils. Full size pencils are for full sized hands.
When developing handwriting PRESCHOOLERS must first be able to name shapes and identify them by their name.
Once a child can recognize the 9 basic shapes needed they’re ready to move on. The sequence for writing is to:
TRACE- I like to use write boards and chalk boards to trace. Bold the lines of the shape and let them work on staying on the fat line as they trace the shape.
COPY – show them the picture and they can recreate the shape.
DRAW INDEPENDENTLY- Able to make a triangle when prompted to draw one. No visual model needed. This is essential for building visual memory skills.
The goal of Preschool is to build a foundation NOT WRITE WORDS AND SENTENCES. Before you get mad at me let me say that I had a preschooler who wanted to write all the time. But she had mastered the above skills. If your child is showing that they are ready too- then go for it. Just know that the brain isn’t developmentally ready for handwriting UNTIL after the child’s 5th birthday!
Here’s where your child is ready to write with words and make simple sentences. They still need small pencils and should be starting with capital letters first before transitioning to lower case letters. One of my all time favorite handwriting program is Handwriting Without Tears. It was created by an Occupational Therapist with normal childhood development in mind.
Oh- one last thing. If you have a child going into kindergarten- please have their eyes tested. I know! I know! The schools do it. Well, truth is most schools only test for far point vision (can they see far away). 90% of school work is done at near point. Children with vision issues are missed everyday and as our kids get more involved with iPad’s etc- an eye exam is essential.
Here’s the catch though- DON’T just go to the guy around the corner. I know you love him and he’s done your eyes forever. You need someone who is looking beyond whether your child can see far away and close up. You want someone who will look to see if they eyes work well together in harmony, if they can track, and so much more. Please, take it from someone who’s gone through all of this personally with her own child.
Go to COVD.ORG and find an eye doctor who will test your child for EVERYTHING. Yes, it is usually covered by insurance. Schedule a regular eye exam with them (usually most plans allow one a year) and during that exam the COVD doc will look at all the other stuff, too!
You have any questions- reach out. I hope that you have a successful school year and get lots of quiet time, reading done, and your house stays miraculously clean 🙂