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Tuesday 26 March 2019
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Pencil and Scissor Skills

Encourage your child to enjoy using pencils and crayons. Make sure that activities are fun and not stressful!

Try to ensure that your child starts off with good habits, and the most important habit is to hold the pencil properly. Teach your child to hold the pencil or crayon in a tripod grip which means that the pencil is held between thumb and index finger, with the pencil resting on the third finger underneath.

Holding the pencil in a dagger like grasp is normal for very young children, but even so, it is best to encourage them to learn how to hold it properly as soon as you can.

There are many pencil grips and hi-tech designs of pencils and pens available, but most children will benefit from just having a chunky pencil to hold when they are starting out mark making, and with a good grip developed, they will relatively easily move onto managing ordinary sized pencils.

Don't be tempted to start your child writing, or work on their letters before they start school. Many children are not ready for the complex skill of handwriting, and many become frustrated, or disinterested. It is also easy to develop bad habits, and your child may learn to form their letters incorrectly, which puts them at a disadvantage at school. The best advice is to enjoy colouring, drawing, dot to dots, stencils and templates, and develop the child's pleasure in making pictures. Once your child starts school, ask your school how to support your child with reading and writing, and take their lead as they will know the best pace for your child.

Reversing letters around the wrong way is a common issue, but not one to be concerned about if the child is under 7 years of age. Further information and help.

Being left handed can sometimes make life that bit harder. Good advice about supporting a child who is left handed.

If you would like more information, click on the links below:

Scissor Skills

Learning to use scissors and cut out carefully is a common skill required in School from Reception onwards, but its actually quite a hard skill to acquire. Each hand performs a different job - one holding the paper and one working the scissors, and both hands need to be coordinated. If early cutting is not coming easily, it may be that your child needs to improve their bilateral coordination first. There is an advice sheet to help you with ideas.

As with any task, keep it fun, try not to pressure your child. Sometimes children are not ready for these more complex tasks, and they will get there in time. Spend time doing activities with your child. Talk them through it, and give help and support. Dont expect too much too soon, and remember that you need to be able to go through the stage of "rough" cutting in order to develop more accuracy.

Top Tips for learning to cut out: