My child's handwriting is very large and messy. Should I worry?

Just as children develop at different rates, so does their handwriting. Between the ages of 5-6 years of age, children are just beginning to have the muscle strength and coordination to use a proper 3-finger pencil grip. Some children struggle because they are simply trying to write too quickly. Encourage your child to slow down and take time to form each letter using the proper letter formation. Using lined paper can also help keep children’s writing small and more legible. Lastly, encourage proper pencil grip by giving your child lots of opportunities to practice writing. Make sure that your child is holding the pencil so that it rests near the base of the thumb, and is held in place using a 3-finger grip (the thumb, index, and middle fingers). 

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.