There are a number of reasons why your child may have messy handwriting but one common reason could be poor motor control. This can lead to poor control of the pencil or pen. And yes there are numerous reasons for this also. It could be because your child’s joints have more mobility than other children or because your child has difficulty attending to the task. It could also be that your child has difficulty maintain a stable posture and an unstable posture provides a poor base for pencil control . You child may have not properly established dominance such that they are able to use their dominant hand for writing and use their other hand as a support. There are numerous other reasons why your child may have poor motor control. An Occupational Therapist can help you to work out why your child is having difficulty and work toward a solution. Poor motor control makes learning to write particularly difficult and children can develop poor habits in letter and number formation which complicates the problem. An Occupational Therapist can also address this issue with your child.
Some children just need a little extra practice with controlling the pencil. Dot-to-dot games and mazes are fantastic ways to practice motor control however these games require more skills than just the control of the pencil. The child may concentrate on the part they find easier. So for mazes they might be concentrating on the task of finding their way around the maze and less so on the pencil control and staying within the lines
To deal with this Childworks has developed some basic pencil control activities. These are like mazes only without the complication of having to find your way around maze. There is only one path! The child needs only to concentrate on controlling the pencil within the lines. They are simple shapes which can be presented in a developmental order. They allow the child finish the task relatively quickly. It is important that in tasks that are quite challenging and in which the child has experienced failure before that they experience success at a level they can manage. Otherwise the task becomes boring and tedious. Think over how your eyes might glaze over when it comes to doing your taxes! You don’t want learning to write to be like that for your child! A quick easy task is fun for your child and more challenging tasks can follow later. There are a range of shapes available and some are easier than others. There are also two different widths available so that you can upgrade your child from having to stay within wide lines to staying within narrow lines. They key is to upgrade the task as your child’s ability improves.