Learning to write – with the right grip
There then follows an important transition for all future drawing and writing movements: the movement becomes more targeted, lines are no longer haphazard, they are drawn more deliberately within the two-dimensional paper “space”.
With circular and zigzag movements, children practise important line sequences for the shapes they will have to use later in letters. From this point in time, children start to hold a pen, pencil or crayon using the digital pronate grip. Children are more conscious of using their fingers, they start to imitate handwriting.
The static tripod grip, consisting of a gently bent index finger and thumb, is practised when children handle small objects, for example when they are sorting beads or pieces of a jigsaw.
Three-finger and precision grip
During all these activities, the eye-hand coordination is being learnt, practised and automated. Exclusively one-sided, monotonous movements, such as the intense use of a mobile phone or video games, hinder the important development of the eye-hand control. Children repeatedly have to learn complex gripping situations if they are going to succeed at school: throwing and catching a ball, threading beads, putting building bricks together as well as cutting out shapes.
When children are drawing or practising writing, also give them the opportunity to practise making sure their hand is flexible and not too tense: shaking their hands, moving their fingers fast across a table or the back of another child or shaping play dough with different movements (rolling, twirling, stretching, plucking, beating, kneading).