Problem: After lots of practice, your child's letters are barely recognizable
Pointer: Get a grip. Many 4-year-olds and even some 5-year-olds can't seem to get the hang of holding a standard-size pencil, which makes their handwriting ultra-messy. Slide-on rubber grips -- sold in school-supply stores -- may provide some help, but Audibert has another trick up her sleeve: a small golf pencil. "The length of the pencil is what gives some kids trouble, and grippers won't help with that," she says. Audibert also encourages parents to make time for activities that give the pincer grip -- the ability to hold objects between the thumb and index finger -- a good workout, such as stringing beads, playing Bingo with Cheerios, putting together puzzles, and building with blocks.