To help your toddler adopt good habits it is important to create an environment around them which is conducive to the development of such habits. Likewise, if you want them to get interested in writing and reading at an early stage, you must create an environment which fosters such characteristics in him. If he sees his parents involved in reading and writing he too will form the interest in doing the same.
Being able to hold a pencil properly at an early age and to be able to write/draw clear straight lines will develop into a good handwriting skill as the child grows older. To help him develop this skill you can follow the tips discussed below:
- Start by getting the child a magnetic slate (Magna Doodle). The pointer or pen that comes with the slate will become his first pencil to write with. Since he will still be developing his habits of keeping things clean and tidy, giving a lead pencil directly to him would be a big risk. You might end up having your walls and floors stained with pencil marks and graffiti or even him getting hurt with the nib of a pencil. A magnetic slate would be a safer tool to give to him for the first time. He can draw lines and undefined shapes and clear them to redraw again. He will learn to grip a writing tool properly through this practice and make prints while putting his cognitive skills to use.
- While he is still on Magna doodle start giving him stencils to draw on his Magna Doodle. I would give different shaped plastic cookie cutters to mine when he was a toddler. The cookie cutters make great stencils. The child can put a round shaped or a heart-shaped cutter on the slate and draw the outlines around it and show the image off to his friends and siblings. Once he is attuned into this, you can move on to encouraging him to draw shapes on his own, like a circle or a triangle.
- Once the child is accustomed to working on Magna doodle, you can get some more writing tools for him. Soft crayons, color pencils, later on, erasable markers and drawing books, coloring books with simple shapes/objects printed on their pages can be added to his treasure of stationary. In the start, you can give him sheets printed with objects to be matched with each other. He will learn the skill of identifying the same objects and drawing a straight line to connect them. Then let him color the inside of the object. Get involved yourself with him. Take two pencils of the same color and let him color the inside on a shape while you color the other matching shape. Appreciate him every time you see him making an effort to keep his coloring within the lines. Know what? Shape colored by you will be of a pale color while he will be brighter with deeper impressions!
- Play a game of joining dots. You can make dotted outlines of trees, fruits, simple shapes, and other objects on sheets of paper and tell your child to join the dots with her pencil to find out what the actual picture is. The little one will learn to draw small lines and curves while joining the dots and with practice, his hand will get steady. You can even get computer printouts for this activity. later the child can color the objects. This activity shows its real benefit when kids work in groups. You can let her practice this when she has playdates over. When she does it with her friends she enjoys it more.
- As the child grows a little older and is ready for preschool, move on to the practice of making shapes without using stencils. Get a small blackboard with a stand and some colored chalks for her. Children love to imitate. And to be able to imitate the new Diva in their life, their preschool teacher, by writing on the blackboard in her style is the ultimate they would want to do. Let her play with the chalks and make lines and circles on the board. Some kids would be naturally very creative and make proper pictures while others would just scribble and doodle on the board telling you that their doodles are actually certain objects. it is so very important to show appreciation to them for whatever they write with the chalk. Because it is this appreciation which will become a motivation for them to improve their writing skills.
- Once the schooling begins, the child will get more practice in writing at the school. Keeping in tow with what she is being taught in school, get her illustrated books with simple words on the relevant subject matter. Read, discuss and then practice writing on the board the two to four letter words on the board. Take turns to draw objects from the book and the other person identifying the name of the object and trying to copy write it on the board. Keeping this practice on as a game will ensure the child practices her writing daily and thus sharpen her skills well.
Rewarding them with appreciation after every effort at trying to write will bring forth positive results and they will soon develop good writing skills.