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My child is unable to write properly, what should I do?

Q: I have a 4 years old son who goes to school and is in KG. I send him for extra classes but the only problem with him is that he has a habit of using his left hand to write and this is making it very tough for him write and hold the pencil tight. He is very smart and knows all his school poems. Can you please suggest me what I can do? At the age of 3.5 years I first put him in a English school and there he was for only 3 months, the teachers started complaining that he does not respond and when forced, he vomits. So then I shifted him to an Indian school where the teacher complains that he can only write with the help of dots. He has started writing the alphabet A but writing B is a problem.

A:I am glad you shifted your son out of a school that forced him to write at age 3 and forced him to the point of making him vomit. If your son has a tendency to be left handed, it is best to let him develop that. Let him use the left hand for writing, throwing a ball or picking up something. If you force him to become right-handed, he may develop speech problems at a later time. It is probably not because he uses his left hand that he is slow. It is that expecting all four year old children to write the alphabets that is unrealistic. But he has to adjust to the school you send him to! How can we tell them what to do? Perhaps, you should try talking to the teacher and asking if your child can continue dotted alphabets for a bit longer, as a special case of being a left hander. Give him plenty of activities at home, like drawing on the floor with chalk, using crayons to draw or colour and playing with sand, clay and water. It may be messy for you to clean up, but those are the activities that will help his eye-hand coordination and his fine muscle development. An added advantage is that they are also enjoyable. Once in a way, when you are making chappatis, give him some dough to play with and to shape the atta as he likes. Let him also roll out the dough and make a small chappati for you! There are many other methods which are used in good Nursery schools. For instance, you can draw a circle or triangle and ask the child to put pebbles (small stones or tamarind seeds) on the shape. The same can be done with letters and numbers, to make the child familiar with them. Having the child use a rope and tie simple knots or learn to lace shoes and turn socks inside out -- anyone of these everyday tasks helps his muscular development. Use music and rhythmic movements for added joy! Watch your child and give him things to do which he can do well. New things can be introduced gradually. Do not be angry at what he cannot do, but learn to appreciate what he can. You will find a great difference.

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