Keep the Pressure Down!
We see lots of children who are exerting excessive pressure through their fingertips and on the page when writing. There are a number of reasons why your child may be pressing too hard on the pencil or the page. This post will aim to give you some tips and tricks to try with your child to help reduce the pressure.
Appropriate pressure when writing is important for:
• Writing fluency
• Endurance as writing demands increase at school
• Development of a dynamic pencil grasp
• To avoid pain in hand and fingers
Things to try:
1. Use a soft surface under the page
Have your child write on their tummies, propped up on their forearms, on a carpet surface. If they press too hard, they will put holes in the page! You can also try a piece of felt or the back of a mouse pad for them to lean on at the table.
2. Pacer pencils
These provide lots of feedback to children who press too hard on the page – if they do the lead will snap! Pacer pencils can also assist with fluency as they often move smoothly across the page as you write.
3. Blu tack near the end
Try rolling a small strip of blu tack around the end of the pencil, where the fingertips grasp the shaft of the pencil. Challenge your child to avoid indenting the blu tack too much as they write.
4. Too light, too dark, just right
Have your child make a key at the top of the page with a letter that is too dark, too light and just right. They can use this to check how their pressure looks on the page and try to get their writing to match the ‘just right’ key.
Children often press down on the page to achieve greater control when writing. Reassure them with these strategies as it will take some time to develop control with less pressure. Consider contacting an occupational therapist to assess fine motor skills and pencil grasp as these may be impacting on your child’s pencil pressure.
Hope this helps to keep the pressure down!