What about the pen grip?


Both parents and teachers often ask us questions about the pen grip. "Is only one hold good?" or "My child is holding a pencil with 4 fingers, is that wrong?". That's why this blog with an explanation about the pen grip. And about its development from toddler to group 4.

Pen Grip Development

A toddler often holds a pencil or wax with the whole fist. The toddler then scratches up and down or back and forth with large strokes. The movement is made from the shoulder. A little later in development, large circular movements are also added. And if that is successful, the first headers can be drawn.

Young toddlers often hold their pencil more with the fingertips. Then there is already some more control over the pencil. They make the color movements from the wrist. Small figures can be drawn recognizable. The pen grip is practiced in class. Children often learn to hold the pencil with the tips of the thumb, forefinger and middle finger. They have to rest the pencil in the "bed" between thumb and forefinger.

Why is a good pen grip important?

To be able to write fluently and quickly, it's important that the fingers can move smoothly. Around the transition to group 3, many children manage to hold a pencil with their fingertips. And to rest the wrist on the table. Then they can move the pencil with their fingers. A great basis for learning to write letters and numbers!

Is the three-point grip the only good grip?

Luckily not! With a number of other grips it's also possible to draw and write from finger movements. So a grip with 4 fingertips can also work well for a child. Or a grip where the thumb is slightly over the side of the index finger. The main thing is that the fingers can move smoothly and that the child doesn't get a writing cramp.

What if a child holds his pencil convulsively?

When holding it tightly, it's not possible to make small round shapes. It's also much more difficult to stay between the lines. For some children it's nice to be able to write with a somewhat thicker pencil or with a triangular pencil. That can sometimes help to allow for a smoother grip.

But does a child suffer from writing cramps? Or does it have a lot of trouble forming the letters on paper? Then a writing examination by an occupational therapist can be helpful. The occupational therapist can pay attention to all conditions for the motor side of writing. For example, the sitting position, the paper position and the pen grip. And help a child back on track with targeted advice and exercises.

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