Letter Perfect: Helping Kids Learn to Write

Although handwriting is taught in most elementary schools, it may be done as seldom as once a week, according to a new study by Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. And the ideal time to start helping your kid with his penmanship is at ages 4 and 5. It's not always going to be easy, but don't get frustrated with your child. Instead, learn how to troubleshoot five stumbling blocks that many parents encounter.

Problem: Your preschooler has zero interest in writing

Pointer: Create a buzz. "Many well-meaning parents buy workbooks and have kids sit quietly in a chair and trace letters over and over again," says Nellie Edge, a kindergarten and early-literacy specialist in Salem, Oregon. "That's totally uninspiring." Her zany alternative: Spray shaving cream on the kitchen counter or table and help your child write his name in the foam. The next day, draw letters with finger-paints. Wikki Stix, Play-Doh, and Lego blocks are toy-box favorites you can also use to shape letters. "You want to send the message to your child that learning to write is going to be one of the most fun things to do," says Edge.

Handwriting: Fun with Shaving Cream
Handwriting: Fun with Shaving Cream

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