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How to Motivate Children to Write in Preschool

by Rachel Pancare, studioD

Motivating children to write at an early age can be difficult. Most kids prefer to play than work. Writing is a complex task, involving both motor and critical-thinking skills. Holding a writing utensil alone can be challenging for young children because their hand muscles are still developing. With a little patience and creativity, parents can encourage preschool-age children to write through fun preparation activities.

Expose your child to a variety of print materials to get her familiar with and interested in written language. Visit the library. Read books as well as signs on the road, labels in the supermarket and words on television.

Help your child prepare physically for writing. In an article titled "Developing Handwriting Skills," Education.com recommends that parents engage children in exercises to strengthen their hand muscles. For example, try lacing activities, finger puppets, buttoning and snapping and games with tweezers.

Explore a variety of different writing tools such as colored pencils, markers, crayons and chalk. Model how to hold a writing tool properly. Encourage your child to shape his own hand like yours, but allow him to hold the tool in a way that feels comfortable at first.

Break up writing tools like crayons or chalk into smaller pieces to make them easier for her fingers. Use brightly colored pencil grips with pens or pencils, if needed. Provide finger paints if writing utensils are too challenging, or show her how to write with her finger in materials like rice or shaving cream.

Allow your child to make any kind of marks. In the article "How Children Learn to Write," Education.com explains that children learn to write through discovery. They try out different strategies and call their scribbles "writing."

Compliment your preschooler's work. In an article titled "10 Ways to Motivate Your Child to Learn," Scholastic recommends that parents acknowledge and celebrate their children's achievements, no matter how small. Comment on the different marks he made on the page, however messy they might seem.

Items you will need
  •  Finger puppets
  •  Snaps or buttons
  •  Tweezers
  •  Laces
  •  Paper or other writing surfaces
  •  Writing utensils
  •  Finger paints
  •  Rice or shaving cream

About the Author

Rachel Pancare taught elementary school for seven years before moving into the K-12 publishing industry. Pancare holds a Master of Science in childhood education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Skidmore College.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images