My twins are officially preschool graduates and moving on to Kindergarten. I have so many mixed emotions. On the one hand I am so proud of their hard work and excited to watch their next steps, and on the other hand I am emotional about them growing up way too fast. We are now on summer break and as much as I would like to just relax we still have some work to do.
During the Kindergarten screening it was recognized my kids still need help with their hand writing. I am not surprised as they had occupational therapy for two years before I extended an extra year of preschool. Even though they continued to work on their hand writing skills through their preschool program, they still need a little help.
If it were up to me to teach them to write I might lose my mind. Despite receiving therapy to help them develop their writing skills, and physical therapy to strengthen them up, they have zero focus when writing. They like to sing and dance and tell stories between writing each letter. Writing one single word can take FOR EVER!
This morning was entirely too frustrating for all of us. My girls simply had to fill in the blank with one word and somehow one of them wound up in tears. I know this should not be stressful if I want them to be successful. I immediately contacted local mom and Occupational Therapist Heather White. She gave me some really great tips for keeping my girls focused while working on their letters.
HELP KIDS FOCUS
- Have your child sit on a yoga ball so they can wiggle while they work.
- Give them a crunchy snack to eat while writing. Pretzels and carrot sticks are great!
- Limit handwriting practice to 5 minutes a day – 10 minutes maximum. You can incorporate handwriting in other tasks throughout the day, but don’t do more than 10 minutes of super focused handwriting work.
- Let your child help you with writing tasks like writing the grocery list, addressing envelopes or writing out the schedule for the day. If they feel like their work is useful and helpful, they’re more inclined to do it. Plus it gives them a sense of responsibility and ownership.
MAKE IT FUN
- Start a local pen pal group. Round up some local kids, young cousins, grandparents or close neighbors to exchange letters with throughout the summer.
- Have your child write a letter to their favorite Disney Character, The President of The United States, or NASA requesting a return letter.
- Have your child make birthday cards for friends and help them sign their own name.
- Have your child send a thank you card for gifts.
- Have your child journal their experiences through summer. Keep it brief to one or two sentences.
You can use ergonomic pencil grips that help position your child’s fingers properly, and angled writing surfaces such as a 3 ring binder to help with writing mechanics and minimize frustrations.
Heather assures me that most kids entering Kindergarten are still learning to master their writing skills. Part of Kindergarten education is learning how to write and most kids catch up before you know it. Knowing that my kids are on par with their peers is helpful. Practicing a little bit throughout the summer will help them from back sliding before school starts; and making it fun guarantees less tears in the process.
Heather White is a Registered and Licensed Occupational Therapist and is available to help your child through the summer. Please send inquires to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and rates.
The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest.