Young children are naturally drawn to writing materials such as crayons and markers. Yet, figuring out how to get them to make the leap from scribbles to letters is often challenging for parents. Preschoolers are often anxious to be able to express themselves through writing words, but their shorter attention spans and tendency towards frustration can make those early writing activities stressful for families. Fortunately, you can take a cue from your child's preschool teacher to turn at-home writing activities into a fun opportunity that eases the process of learning.
Early childhood educators understand that prewriting skills are developed long before a child ever picks up a pen. That's why you will see them encouraging children in the classroom to learn how to do things for themselves such as putting on their socks and zipping up their jackets. Building fine motor skills increases the finger dexterity and strength that your child needs to maneuver a writing utensil properly. So encourage your child to peel that clementine or help tear up the lettuce for a salad. These activities will make it easier for your child to gain control over their crayon.
Think Outside of the Crayon Box
As adults, it is easy to think of writing as something that only happens with pens and pencils. However, kids can use lots of other materials to gain an understanding of how letters are formed. For example, preschools are always stocked up on art materials such as playdough and chenille stems that children can bend and twist into the letters that they want to make. As they play with these materials, they are also continuing to build those fine motor skills that are so critical for learning to write.
Make It Personal
Teachers are also aware that preschoolers are still very egocentric at this age; although, they are still gaining awareness of the world around them. Therefore, it helps to create a personal connection between kids and their writing. Start by helping your child to learn to write the first letter of their name, or help them to sign their name on a picture that they make for their friend. When your child feels that the activity is meaningful, they will be more likely to stay engaged.
Watching as your child forms those first letters is exciting, and you can help keep things interesting for your child by adding new elements to your at-home lessons. As your child makes progress, remember to praise their efforts, and keep in mind that adding new elements to your at-home lessons will keep them motivated for continuing to improve their skills. If you want more information to help your child, you can find out here by talking with a child educator.