The Lost Art of Putting Pen to Paper

Writing letters has sadly almost become a thing of the past as more and more people trade their pen for a keyboard – but the art and necessity of gaining good handwriting skills at a young age cannot be forgotten. We rely on schools to teach our children the importance of writing and the art of communication but a worrying number in America are now beginning to focus heavily on the ‘three Ts’ – texting, tapping, and typing on the keyboard.

A rise in the use of computers has already been linked to poor spelling, punctuation and grammar as children become over-reliant on electronic checkers so the last thing we need is the curriculum to change in order to fuel this trend. With a few handy tips and the right tools you can help your little ones get on the ‘write’ path to success.

The most important tool to get right is the pen. In order for your child to find writing a fun and enjoyable activity their pen must be comfortable. A common problem for children when they first start to develop their writing skills is that they press too hard so make sure you choose a pen that is ergonomic and that releases ink with minimal pressure. Brightly coloured pens are great for encouraging your children to want to write so make sure you pick up only the coolest pens!

Handwriting has been proven to aid children’s abilities in key areas such as communication, organisation and developing confidence and by getting your child involved in extra writing activities for just one hour a day, you could make a big difference to their writing ability and their future. For younger children, having pencils and other writing materials available throughout the day will have a marked benefit on the speed of their fine motor skill development needed to hold a pencil correctly. You can supply these materials in a variety a ways, but we suggest you choose wisely depending on the interests of your child. For example, if your child is a free spirit and you’re feeling brave, let them run wild with a pack of coloured chalk and your patio as their canvas.

Repetition is key to the success of handwriting and children need opportunities to reinforce what they have been taught. Writing can be extremely fun for both you and your child and we’ve put together a few great writing activities that you and your children can get stuck into straight away!

Thank You Notes: Getting your kids in the habit of writing “thank you” notes to friends and family is a great way to get them involved. It will only take them a few minutes – great for their short attention span – and is a really nice way for them to build up their writing confidence. They can write formal thank you notes after birthdays and Christmas or even say thank you to a friend for having them for tea, or to Granny for baking a cake.

Post-It Notes: Leaving notes around the house is another really creative way to develop their handwriting skills at home. Encourage them to leave you notes around the house and slowly but surely, you’ll be able to see a vast improvement in their handwriting and even begin to see their own writing style emerge. What makes this extra fun for your little ones is that they can leave the notes wherever they like so look out for post-it notes in the fridge and even in the bed!

Treasure Hunt: To push their creativity further, suggest that they make a treasure hunt and ask them to write a short poem for each clue.

Story Time: Why not get them to have a go at writing their own story book? The great thing about this is that it can be done over a varied period of time – it will keep them involved for as long as they keep the characters alive and will give you more quiet time. You never know, by the end of it you might end up with the next JK Rowling on your hands!

By keeping it fun, your youngsters will enjoy the process of learning how to write and will develop their own handwriting style in their own time. The advantages of your child grasping the concept of putting pen to paper at an early age are endless. Whether they immerse themselves in poetry, fine art, casual doodling or heartfelt letters, there is always a creative outlet they can use when it comes to the pen – no rules, no regulations.

Don’t forget that your children learn from you – if they see you writing every day then they will soon pick up the importance of this essential life skill. Despite the common opinion that handwriting is becoming obsolete, it will always be an essential part of our daily lives.

The Author: Caroline Ridges, Marketing Manager at Stabilo.

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