85 answers

Sloppy Handwriting for Left-Handed Child

This probably seems a little silly and I'm asking other moms on behalf of my niece who has an almost 5 year old boy, Connor. Connor is left-handed and attends a day care but they do not have pre-K classes. However, they are working with the children in learning the alphabet. Connor has quite a bit of trouble writing his letters and my niece knows of several "lefties" who have terrible handwriting and wondered if that was the "norm" for lefties? We're not trying to offend any lefties, by the way. I'm sure once he gets to kindergarten in the Fall and his family keeps working with him, he will improve. Any thoughts or ideas? Thank you.

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Thank you so much for all of the great responses (35 at this point!) This is such a great resource for the little (and big) things that affect all of our lives. Keep up the GREAT work you wonderful Moms (and anyone else who might be responding that I don't want to leave out!)

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I was also going to recommend Handwriting without Tears. www.hwtears.com You can go to their website, and look at all they have to offer. My kids are really enjoying it, and so am I (teaching it!) HTH!

1 mom found this helpful

I am left handed and so was my son, until he overcompensated and forced himself to be a righty! Believe me, I tried my hardest to keep him a lefty. I think it's hard because they try to hold their hand and pencil like a righty does and lefties are just not made to write like that. I think most lefties end up with messy handwriting simply because they are trying to fit in and write like the others. Is there another adult lefty in the family that can show him the proper way to hold his pencil and confirm to him that it's ok to write differently? Just a suggestion!

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I am at 35 year old lefty who grew up doing EVERYTHING right-handed except writing. AND if my father had it his way, I would write with my right hand too! I have mediocre handwriting because much of the time I should have spent mastering my left handed penmanship, I spent practicing with my right (Dad insisted)instead. Needless to say I am now an out of the closet lefty with a lousy sense of direction. I do find that slanting my paper to nearly vertical really helps the penmanship!

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Have her check out the Zaner Bloser website. Everything a lefty does is in reverse to a righty (not to mention they must hold the pen higher so they can see the letters they are forming). ZB has explanations for proper form for a lefty.

Now is a good time to have him practice in order to avoid poor form later (especially the "hook" which is not necessary for a lefty though many do it).

BTW, my son is a lefty, and with this same info, he is doing very well.

4 moms found this helpful

You might want to look for an occupational therapist on-line or through the special education department in your school district. These therapists specialize in fine-motor skills and can suggest a handwriting program for you. If you'd like information re. the OT I know and helped me out, please e-mail me at ____@____.com.

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Hi there A.,

No offense; but it seems as though the day care center really should have a dedicated pre-k class. Yes, handwriting is something that kids will work on in Kindergarten and his handwriting will improve; but why not start now? I'm a childcare providedr of pre-k age children (3-5 yrs). We just started to use a curriculum called Handwriting Without Tears (www.hwtears.com) and absolutely LOVE it! There are workshop training sessions all the time throughout the US. I attended one; but I don't feel that it's really necessary. I have the teacher book; which is very informative and walks you through it step by step. I've also purchased the CD and workbook for the kids. The songs are so cute and catchy that my 3.5 yr old sings them randomly. I strongly recommend using this for any child.

Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I think sometimes we tend to make excuses and allow the bad hanwriting because they are "lefties," but I was just as demanding of my leftie daughter as I was of my right-handed daughter. Now is the time to work with him, before bad habits set in.

I consistently asked my daughter not to move the paper, and to write neatly or she would have to redo it. I always told both daughters to take pride of their school work and sloppines was not allowed - in a good, constructive way. I'm happy to tell you that all that hard work (by my dauthter) has paid off. Her 4th grade teacher says she has one of the best handwritings in the class - and my dauhghter is so proud of that.

So, my suggestion to you is to have patience, this may take some time - even years. Start working on neatness, posture, paper and pencil placement - the standards must be the same as right-handed people. It can be frustrating sometimes, but the rewards go beyond the handwriting -

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

As a lefty that struggled with handwriting I would suggest the following. Make sure the paper is slanted the opposite of how a right handed person would have it.. For those that don't know if a left handed person writes with the paper in the proper slant they can see what they are writing just the same as right handed person. The reason you see the "curled" hand of alot of left handed persons is because this person was forced to write with the same slant and paper position as a right handed person, so in order to succeed and "pass" with the social standards of what I hope is time gone by a person was forced to write in an unnatural position usually resulting in bad handwriting,frustration, embarrasment of constant critizism in class. My mother went thru this in the 40's-50's and her parents had to fight with the teachers to stop the "curl". She had to fight it with my teachers in the 60's and 70's. When they finally left me alone and I did it like she showed me there was a world of difference. I still have a variable slant depending on how long I write. My SIL was having trouble with her son in elementry school with handwriting and getting bad marks in penmenship and one night I happened to be there when he was doing homework, guess what... his paper was slanted the wrong way... Changed that, she pointed it out to the teacher, she left him alone and even tried to remind him to slant his the other way and by the end of the year there was a dramatic improvement and he was alot happier. So the lesson here don't assume your childs teacher knows the proper way for a left handed person to write, many are taught by righties and are righties themselves and just don't know any better. Will this produce beautiful handwriting no....that is individual to each person but it will produce a happier child more willing to learn to write. Encourage your children to try everything with the hand that it comes naturally to. I do most things left handed (even bowling,crochet) and do just fine but I function perfectily well in the right handed world (ten key by touch, computer mouse etc.) We are who we are and to try and change that to make us more "normal" isn't right...... If you continue to have trouble find another lefty that writes normally to help show the left way of the writing world. I am sure they would be willing to help. My best to all of you, I wish you great luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I am right handed but this is what my mom did with me when i started school to improve my handwriting.

she had me sit down and work on my handwrighting everyday at home before dinner for about half an hour. i can tell you know I have beautiful hand writing!

Practice makes perfect!

1 mom found this helpful

I was also going to recommend Handwriting without Tears. www.hwtears.com You can go to their website, and look at all they have to offer. My kids are really enjoying it, and so am I (teaching it!) HTH!

1 mom found this helpful

Your question is far from silly. Left-handed children need special attention in learning to write. When you say "they are working" that's the important part. Who are "they"? Many teachers are not equipped to help build a left-handed child's self esteem while teaching them a method for lefties to write well and avoid the "lefty hook". I suggest you go to the school and make sure "they" have a good writing method for the lefty child. I am a lefty also and have spent years researching side dominance. I also wrote a short manual on left-handedness titled, "Left-Handed But Not Left Behind, A Positive Approach for the Left-handed Student". Feel free to look at my website. www.lefthandedinfo.com

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