Is your toddler ready to write?

17 Dec 2019

As adults, we often take for granted skills that have now become completely natural to us like reading, writing, and even being able to go to the ‘potty’ on our own. We don’t really remember how we learnt how to do these things, we just somehow know that we did.


Gross motor skills are always developed first. These motor skills use large muscle groups to do things like walk, crawl, and run.


Fine motor skills usually develop later and use smaller muscle groups for small, precise movements like picking up toys, wriggling toes, and writing.


Writing for a tot is one of the more challenging things for them to learn because it uses cognitive skills, fine motor skills, and hand-eye co-ordination.


Drawing and painting are usually a good starting point to develop your child’s fine motor skills; you can then work your way towards writing. Both activities are fun and don’t seem like ‘work’ to them, which is an added bonus.


Start with larger surfaces and larger drawing supplies. For example, chunky chalk and finger painting, then work your way towards smaller supplies like crayons and then colour pencils. This gets them used to the correct way of holding drawing, and writing, tools.


Once they’ve had some practise, try bringing in letters of the alphabet and short words. You could do this by drawing a big letter and having them colour it in, or drawing people and objects and then labelling them.


Children get really excited to be able to write and spell their own name, and for many, this is the first thing that they learn to write. Write their name out for them in big, bold letters and then have them try copy it. Their first attempts are likely to be a bit messy but the more they practise, the better it will be. Be sure to praise every attempt and offer kind suggestions on what they can try do to improve.


Children move at their own pace, so it’s important to be patient with them. They all get there eventually – when all finally clicks into place, and suddenly, they are little writers.