Many toddlers are naturally drawn to drawing and writing, but not all toddlers will find drawing and writing an enjoyable experience. Some toddlers might resist writing because they would rather be doing other activities or because the task is difficult for them. Parents and caregivers can encourage toddlers to write by supplying them with a variety of writing tools and writing experiences.
Toddlers might not be ready to hold a regular crayon or pencil. Try other writing tools such as larger-sized crayons and pencils to make writing easier. You might also want to buy a clipboard to hold papers still for your toddler while they are writing. Also, often children enjoy writing more when they perceive the task to be fun. To make writing more entertaining, give the child dry-erase markers and a dry erase board, or chalk and a chalkboard. Also, if your child enjoys outdoor play, buy sidewalk chalk for him to draw with. Keep writing and drawing supplies in plain view so that your toddler will see them every day. If your toddler is having trouble holding any type of writing utensil, encourage the development of fine motor skills through play with blocks, Play Doh and finger paint.
Some children need motivation to write. Parents might want to implement a reward system such as a sticker chart to encourage toddlers to write. Always praise your toddler’s writing attempts and display written work somewhere visible such as on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board. Set aside time each to sit down with your toddler to write or draw with them. Never force your child to write or engage in a power struggle. If your toddler starts to associate handwriting with negative experiences, then the child will resist writing even more.
Children should be scribbling by the age of 2 and holding crayon between their thumb and fingers by age 3. By the age of 4, children should be able to draw a circle and by the age of 5, children should be able to write some uppercase letters. Children should be able to draw other shapes and hold a pencil properly by the age of 6.
Children with learning disabilities might have fine motor skill deficits. An inability to write or draw, or an aversion to writing, might indicate a learning disability. Some learning disabilities often associated with fine motor deficits include ADHD, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, dyspraxia and cerebral palsy. Early intervention with an occupational therapist might be necessary for toddlers with an underlying problem causing handwriting difficulties.