20 answers

5 Year Old Starting Kindergarten and Can't Hold a Crayon Right!

I'm worried sick!!My son's birthday is Feb 26.He's 5 years old and starts kindergarten in september.No matter how many times I show him,he still can't hold a crayon properly!!The crayon leans forward and thus he has a difficult time coloring inside lines and such.Some of my friends children who are also starting kindergarten,can read already!!!I'm sick with worry that maybe he's fine motor skills are not as matured as they should be.I have an 8 year old and had no such problems with him.My 5 year old seems to be fine in all other areas except this.He knows his colors....his letters.....sounds but will not hold that pencil right!!!HElp.....I think this day and age,kids are kinda expected to be able to right their name as they enter kindergarten....thats what has me sick with worry!!Thanks!

What can I do next?

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Dont make a big deal about it, it may get him more anxious than needed.

Go to the store and buy the triangle shaped crayons. (Crayola makes some) take them out of the box so he doesnt see they are made for toddlers and give him some PLAIN paper to draw on. White, or colored. You can even cut the colored paper into fun shapes. Or if you think he is ready, let him practice making some snips with the scissors. (another great fine motor exercise!) He doesnt need to color in the lines if he is making his own designs.

You can also get the triangle grips to slide on his pencils. It makes it easier for these little ones to hold.

And he DOESNT HAVE TO READ to go to Kindergarten. That is what school is for! (can you tell that one is a pet peeve of mine?)

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Please, PLEASE don't worry about this. Some kids' hand muscles just aren't as ready for fine motor stuff. Same as you, my daughter did not have this issue and my son did. I can remember as late as second grade telling my teacher that holding my pencil the way she wanted me to made my hand 'tickle' and I hated the way that felt! Do some of the hand strengthening exercises mentioned if you think he won't become anxious or aware that you're concerned.

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Don't worry! Your son will be fine - I promise. Get him some of the triangular crayons, as they can help kids figure out the right way to grip it. There will be plenty of kids coming into kindergarten who don't hold their pencils the right way. He will definitely not be the only one. He sounds like a smart kid who is academically ready and will do great.

3 moms found this helpful

Is your son left or right handed? I am left handed, 35 YO, and basically STILL can't hold a pencil 'right'. Imagine making a fist and putting the pen, pencil, crayon, whatever - in between your thumb and forefinger - that's how I write! To this day I still have sloppy writing (should have been a doctor). Don't fret :)

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They will teach him at school. It's not major, don't sweat it.

3 moms found this helpful

Dont make a big deal about it, it may get him more anxious than needed.

Go to the store and buy the triangle shaped crayons. (Crayola makes some) take them out of the box so he doesnt see they are made for toddlers and give him some PLAIN paper to draw on. White, or colored. You can even cut the colored paper into fun shapes. Or if you think he is ready, let him practice making some snips with the scissors. (another great fine motor exercise!) He doesnt need to color in the lines if he is making his own designs.

You can also get the triangle grips to slide on his pencils. It makes it easier for these little ones to hold.

And he DOESNT HAVE TO READ to go to Kindergarten. That is what school is for! (can you tell that one is a pet peeve of mine?)

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

first RELAX it's not something you really need to panic over.
They will learn how to do all of that in kindergarten. I'm sure he won't be the only one in his class that doesn't hold the crayon right.
My 5yr old doesn't hold his just right either. he holds is so it comes out between his fingers instead of finger tips.

And most kids don't know how to read before kindergarten and those kid of your friends that can read , either have just had certain books read to them so many times they have them memorized or will likely end up having to relearn how to read, b/c unless they learn the phonic way to read they aren't really reading. Letter sounds are VERY important for reading.

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Hello, I have babysat all of my California grandkids while their parents work. I even had custody of one for three years. Anyway, when the oldest one was about to start school, I too was worried. We had read books everyday. He would insist on adult History and Discovery type books. He could name things that other children didn't even know existed. We also read books about other nations and cultures. Well he couldn't do his numbers or letters. He was just not interested. He caught on very quickly once he was with the other children. He is now entering High School and is in all excelled classes getting almost straight A's and was on the Honor's Roll at the Middle School. Go and figure. By the way, his cousin and brother are also very gifted. Out younger grandchild has Down's Syndrome and is light years ahead of her preschool peers. I don't know what to say, but they are all sponges.
If there is a problem with your son's motor skills, the teacher will identify it. He is probably very sports motivated.
Good luck with your precious family. All children are gifted in their own way.
K. K.

2 moms found this helpful

Please, PLEASE don't worry about this. Some kids' hand muscles just aren't as ready for fine motor stuff. Same as you, my daughter did not have this issue and my son did. I can remember as late as second grade telling my teacher that holding my pencil the way she wanted me to made my hand 'tickle' and I hated the way that felt! Do some of the hand strengthening exercises mentioned if you think he won't become anxious or aware that you're concerned.

2 moms found this helpful

I am a former kindergarten teacher and kids develop at different rates. It is nothing to be worried about. Yes some kids go into kinder knowing a lot of stuff but they don't know it all. Some of the ones that can read can't sit in one place for more than a few seconds or can't follow directions. You have nothing to be worried about, your son sounds like a normal 5 year old to me. I'm sure he will do fine at school and when his fine muscles are ready he will hold the pencil and crayon correctly. The best to all of you.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi S.,

Please don't stress over this. My son is 5 1/2 and it isn't until now that he has better ability to hold a pencil. I bought him a pencil grip which helped and I worked with him everyday on writing one letter only - 4 times. It's not a big deal if he colors inside the lines or not as long as he's coloring the other will follow. Also, teachers in Kindergarten deal with all levels and will help your son. Give his new teacher a head's up and ask what you can also do at home to help in order for both of you to work together. Please don't worry, it's alright. Also, don't compare your son's skills with anyone else's they all learn at different levels. He'll be fine and you will be too. :)

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Many boys need two years of kindergarten. No worries. We sent our son at 5. Due to a school change we dropped him a grade and he's happier. Now we will have our second son - almost 5 - have a 3rd yr of preschool and start K at 6. It's called the gift year. A year for boys to mature. They can also have 2 years of K. One at one school. Then moving to the K-6 if possible.

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Please, please stop making yourself 'sick with worry"...I have taught kindergarten for 10 years, and the best thing you can do for yourself and your son is to stop worrying. When you have time before school begins take your son to the library and ask the librarian to show you where to find a copy of, ' Leo the Late Bloomer'. Either read the story to him in the childrens area of the library, or at home when it is just the two of you. Focus on all the wonderful skills your son has, going into kindergarten, because what he needs most from you, as his Mom is to be excited and positive irregardless of how he holds his crayon. These are the years where children develop...and they all have amazing potential to blossom and grow. Comparing him to others will only make you lose sleep and add anxiety to his young precious life. There is no need to worry....when my son started kindergarten many years ago , his teacher read the book about Leo to the children and their Mothers. I listened to the story with tears in my eyes, not because I was worried about my son, but because I had gone through school comparing myself to others. I hope this was of some help.
Treasure all his large and small accomplishments!
Best wishes, S. Fagan

2 moms found this helpful

Like the other moms said, not a biggie.

Our daughter did not have great fine motor skills in the beginning of Kinder (I never thought about it) , so I started working with her after school to help strengthen and develop those skills. With some physical therapy..

Roll little pea sized balls out of play dough. Have her make a tower out of all of the little balls. Only using her fingers and thumb.

Have her pick up things only using clothes pins, finger and thumb, both hands. Have her sort the laundry only using the clothes pins (finger and thumb)

Have her make a giant chain out of a box of paper clips. Start with the large ones, then have her do a box with the little ones.

Empty a penny bank and have her separate the coins and place them in ziploc bags. Have her close the bags.. (not with a tab)

Purchase a bag of craft beads or buttons and have her separate them by color and place in a muffin pan, then have her place them in Ziploc bags..

Unspool some string and have her respool it.

Have her drive little cars over a large map only using her forefinger. then only her thumb.. Then have her use the other hand..

You get the idea..

2 moms found this helpful

Hi S., My first advice to you is don't compare your son to your friends children, so children can read when the start kindergarten. it's hard to teach a child how to hold a pencil/crayon properly, until it feels comfortable to him he may not hold it right. Like your son, my daycare child has the same problems with pencils/crayons but knows her colors, her shapes, she still struggles with her letters, she will be five in October, I just keep working with her I have a lot patience with her. Children have different strenghts and different weaknesses ant different times, don't be sick with worry. And they do expect children to be able to write their, Gabby struggles with that too, keep working with your son, be patient and if you want have little rewards for him when he's working and trying, that's what I do with Gabby, I never make her or allow her to feel bad, because something is hard, I do my best to make it fun and I know she's smart and she will eventually get it. J.

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My son didn't ever color or draw or voluntarily pick up a pencil until Kindergarten. He couldn't write his name properly until half way through the year.
As long as he's keeping up in everything else don't worry.

In 2nd grade my son was diagnosed with dysgraphia, it's a writing disability. We have gotten big fat, short pencils and that takes away the pain and difficulty of actual writing and taught him special writing development helps. He also learned to type in 2nd grade and that made assignments so much easier.
He is starting 5th grade as a flourishing GATE student.

Most problems resolve themselves, if it hasn't by about 2nd grade, then look into it.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there,
I'm a teacher and its very common for kinder kids to have difficulty holding a pencil or crayon. I find that bigger and thicker pencils and crayons are easier for them. They also have thick triangular pencils and crayons. School supply places also have those squishy things you slide onto the pencil for better positioning and grip. One other thing I used to do for really small little fingers is put a hole in a ping pong ball and slide the pencil through and the hold the ping pong ball to write. Don't freak out. He just need a little more practice and time with it. Some kids have no interest in it so they don't get as much practice honing in their fine motor skills. Hope that helps.
C.

1 mom found this helpful

There are kids at all sorts of different levels entering kindergarten. Try not to worry too much about the other kids. See how he does, maybe he just needs the instruction and structure of the classroom to get it right. Check in with the teacher a few weeks after school starts and see how he's doing. I'd say give her/him time to make an assessment on your child before putting any thoughts in their head about your own concerns. See if they get to the same place you do with concern.
This could be the step he needs to just blossom....

Good luck!
-M

1 mom found this helpful

Take a big, big deep breath and stop worrying. Read all the wonderful advice and terrific insights from all the other great moms who already responded. The important thing to remember is that kids mature and develop at different rates, for every kid who can read at age 4 you'll find one who didn't read until age 6. Forget "should be" and "expected" and celebrate "is". Also -- what is the "right" way to hold a pencil? Look around at a group of adults, I'll bet you see a fair amount of diversity. Another question to ask yourself when you come to these little 'bumps' is, "Is this going to matter in a year, 5 years, 10 years, etc.". Some things just take a little longer for some of us to work out, but it happens. Enjoy life.

There is no need to worry... he just hasn't developed that skill yet. I sent my son to full time Kindergarten when he was 4 years and 11 months. Academically and socially he was ready.... fine motor skills were another story. He was ambidextrous and therefore didn't develop either hand well enough to write in school. Before Kindergarten started, we sent him to Occupational Therapy to work on his writing. They started with his right hand. He did great and really improved. However, he decided he didn't want to work on his left hand so we told him he had to write with his right hand in school and he could do anything else with his left. This worked out great. He still didn't color that well but he could write neatly enough for school. He's 7 now and still doesn't color that well but he's getting better. Your pediatrician can give you a referral for OT.

Hope this helps!

My oldest daughter (who went on to graduate from high school with honors, and earn a university degree) never did hold writing implements correctly. The way she does it looks so awkward, but it works for her.

Most kids, at kingergarten age, are still pretty much scribblers. The ones who stay in the lines are exceptions, not the rule.

I think you are worrying yourself for nothing. My son, who is also 5, birthday February 9th, is like your son. I spent the last 5 months worrying, but after talking with his Kindergarten teacher, she said that it shouldn't be a problem. That's what Kindergarten is for. They will learn all that and more and I shouldn't worry too much and I think you should do the same.

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