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Is your child right or left handed? At this age you are probably only beginning to discover their natural preference.
When your child begins to make marks on paper with a crayon or pencil, let them choose which hand to use. Whichever hand they are most comfortable with is best for them.
The majority of people are right handed - only about one out of ten is left handed. Because it is more unusual, in the past left handed children were forced to use their right hands. Thankfully this doesn't happen any more.
When your left-handed child begins to write, let them work out for themselves how to form the letters or numbers. It's the final shape that matters, not how they got there.
Watch this video about how a left handed child might move the pencil differently, and how angling the paper makes writing or drawing easier.
There are at least four stages in learning to write. The first is movement - your child learning to control their body and their hands - reaching, feeling and holding things - is part of this first stage.
The second stage is making marks - seeing that if you put this crayon here and move it, it makes a mark.
Drawing is a third stage.
The fourth then is learning how to make letters and later words.
For your child, the more they are aware about how useful writing is, the better. Seeing you writing is great and you pointing out other people writing will help them see how useful it is too.
It’s always good to keep crayons and paper close at hand, so that you can give them to your child anytime to play with.
Write words under your child’s drawing – like their name or what they have drawn – that will help them understand the meaning of words.
Later you could clip 10 or 12 of these drawings together to make a book. This will show your child how books can be made.
Let your child see you writing – notes, lists, letters and emails. If you don't write much yourself, show your child other people writing when you are out and about.
Encourage your child to use ‘pretend’ writing in play - writing their own name, notices or price lists. You could even give them a little notebook when you go to the shops or when they’re playing ‘shop’ with their friends.
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