Starting School the Write Way

By: Amy Bumgarner, OTR/L

As the school year resumes, so do reading writing,  and math – OH MY!  Before putting pencil to paper, students of all ages will benefit from some essential preparation and reminders, including:

  • Body readiness:   Using fine motor skills requires concentration.  Before asking little ones to focus on writing tasks, give them a chance get their wiggles out.  Playing outside, bike riding and activities on the Fundanoodle Muscle Movers are great ways to expend some energy before settling down to the focused business of writing.
  • Posture:  It’s hard for little ones to focus if they aren’t comfortable.  Make sure your child has an appropriate space to sit with appropriate foot support.  If your little one’s feet don’t touch the ground, use a step stool or phone books for support.
  • Warm up those finger muscles. Start with finger push-ups or making snakes and small snowmen with play-doh.
  • Pencil grasp.  Make sure your child holds the pencil or pen the right way.  Without an appropriate grasp, little hands will fatigue, causing increased frustration with writing tasks
  • Minimize distractions: Turn off the TV and radio.  Send siblings outside to play.  Children doing homework need a quiet, relaxing space to complete work
  • Let there be light: Make sure your child’s work space is well-lit, be it by sunlight or  lamp.

Above all, keep it fun and keep it focused.  For younger children, limit writing activities to 15 to 20 minutes with opportunities for movement breaks.  And remember, the more success your child has, the more likely he or she will be eager to write.

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