Parent’s Pencil Grasp Gripping Guide

Parent’s Pencil Grasp Gripping Guide

I thought I would start the year off with a very traditional OT topic and a subject that we often get asked about at the clinic…development of a pencil grip. Many parents often want to know at what age they should be encouraging their child to hold the pencil correctly and how they can encourage their child to use a tripod (3 finger) grip.

Developing a child’s pencil grasp correctly is not just about helping them to learn how to write. Using a dynamic tripod grip helps children to write efficiently, effortlessly and for a greater endurance. Writing will become an automatic task, so that children can spend more time concentrating on what they want to write, rather than how to go about writing it. Developing the correct skills required for using a pencil efficiently will also help to develop other fine motor skills, including typing skills.

Let’s begin by defining what skills are required for using a pencil efficiently. In a typically developing child, the larger, gross muscles will develop before the smaller, fine muscles. Furthermore, the muscles that are closer to the centre of the body will develop before the muscles that are further away from the core. Therefore, a child will first start developing postural control, shoulder stability, arm strength, wrist stability, hand strength then finger strength and manipulation. All of these abilities are required in order to develop a pencil grasp.

So before you even begin to teach a child how to hold a writing tool, start by developing the skills that are required. Build their postural strength through tummy time so they can sit up at a desk. Play push/pull games or hang from monkey bars to develop shoulder and upper arm strength and stability so they can hold their arm steady whilst they write. Strengthen their wrists through painting on an easel or using a rolling pin so they can stabilise their wrists whilst writing. Use trigger spray bottles or hole punches to develop hand grip strength so they have the strength to maintain the arch of the palm whilst writing. Use finger puppets or sing finger songs (eg. One little finger, the itsy bitsy spider, where is Thumbkin?) to encourage independent finger movement so that their fingers can move dynamically and independently in a tripod grasp. Encourage use of pincer grip by threading small beads, using pegs or pinching playdough. Continue doing these activities whilst a child is developing their pencil grip.

Young children will not be strong enough to hold small pencils, nor will they have the control to stabilise their shoulders/wrists. Therefore, they tend to use chunkier writing tools and write using whole arm movements. As their strength and control develops, the movement of writing will move from the whole arm, to the wrist, and finally to the fingertips.

Below is a guide to the different developmental stages of a pencil grip.
1-2 years old: Fisted grip or Palmar Supinate Grip. Children often hold their writing tool like a dagger, scribbling using their whole arm.





2-3 years old: Digital Pronate grip. All fingers are holding the writing tool but the wrist is turned so that the palm is facing down towards the page. Children begin to stabilise their shoulders, so that movement now comes mostly from the elbow. At this age, children should start being able to copy a horizontal, vertical and circular line.

3-4 years old: ‘Splayed’ or 4 finger grip. 4 fingers are held on the writing tool, beginning to form the arc between the thumb and index finger (web space). Movement will occur mostly from the wrist and the hand and fingers move as one whole unit. At this age, children should be able to complete simple dot-to-dots, imitate zig-zag and crossed lines, trace dotted lines and draw simple humans (eg. Head, stick body and one other body part such as arm or leg).


4-6 years old: Static Tripod grip. This is a 3 finger grasp, where the thumb, index finger and middle finger work as one unit. At this age, children should be able to copy a diagonal line, a square, a diagonal cross, a circle and a triangle. Pictures of humans become more detailed, including both arms and legs and even facial features. Sometimes this can also have a fourth finger involved, and be termed a Quadrapod grip.


As the fingers begin to move independently, the ring and little fingers gently curl into the palm, the web space opens and becomes more circular, the writing tool is held closer to the nib and movement of the writing tool comes from the fingertips (the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder are stabilised) the static tripod grip develops into a fully matured Dynamic Tripod Grip. Children will consistently be using only 3 fingers to hold the writing tool. This is the ideal grip to help move the pencil efficiently, accurately and at a good speed. Your child is now ready to starting practising and perfecting their letter formations! Most children will master the tripod grip by the age of 6 or 7, so there’s no need to raise alarm bells if your child isn’t holding their pencil properly as they start school.

Whilst it’s important to start encouraging the correct pencil grip at a young age,  it’s important to be aware that you are encouraging the correct age-appropriate grip. Getting a 3 year old to use a tripod grip when their muscles aren’t developed enough will only result in them using an awkward version of the grip and these incorrect habits are hard to correct over time. However, you can support the development of their pencil grips by developing the underlying skills required for manipulating a pencil properly, such as grip strength, finger isolation, shoulder stability and postural control.

For more ideas on how to develop your child’s fine motor skills, contact us at Occupational Therapy For Children on (08) 8410 4522.


  • alvia banzato
    Posted at 00:14h, 20 February Reply

    I am a teacher and very interested in finding a new way of holding a pencil. Noone is using the “correct” pencil grip. I have heard of an alternative, but cant find any literature on it.
    I was wondering if you can help.

    • Christina
      Posted at 15:41h, 16 June Reply

      I’m a teacher too and I have found some amazing pencil grips which encourage the final stage of gripping a pencil. They are unlike anything I’ve seen. You have to put your thumb on the star and the rest of the fingers naturally fall into place. I can’t remember for the life of me which brand they are but if you search ‘pencil grip star thumb’ it should come up!

      • Michelle
        Posted at 18:07h, 06 October Reply

        I am an OT. Sounds like you are talking about the Stetro Grip. They are also called the Mini Grip.
        Hope that helps.

    • Mary
      Posted at 13:22h, 25 June Reply

      Hi, I’d really appreciate your advice as to what I could do to help my 4yo (& 4 months) son. His problems are: 1) No clear hand dominance – swaps between hands when one hand gets tired 2) No pincer grip (using index finger). 3) Applies a lot of pressure on the paper & on implements when drawing/colouring. 4) Not very good at using fork/knife (by what age should they be able to use a knife & fork basically?). He seems to have a very functional grip between his thumb & middle finger for manipulating puzzle pieces & picking up sultanas etc. Ever since he was 1yo he has used his middle finger or thumb to perform tasks traditionally done by the index finger eg. turning on/off light switches or powerpoints or pressing the buttons on lifts. The index finger isn’t used for any task involving a pincer or tripod grip & that’s despite almost 3yrs of feedback emphasising involvement of his “special”/index fingers. His index fingers seems to be quite lax & he has little strength or control in them. I’m not sure if I should purchase “The Pencil Grip Original” to help with drawing/writing tasks & alleviate increased pressure on the paper or just buy thicker textas. I’ve been trying to improve his shoulder stability (wheelbarrows & hanging from monkey bars) & grip strength (playdough) & finger isolation (screws & bolts etc). How do I determine which is his preferred hand when he keeps swapping between them? Any advice/suggestions you could provide would be gratefully received & acted upon. Thanking you in anticipation…

      • otfc
        Posted at 02:11h, 11 July Reply

        Hi Mary,

        Thank you for your comment. It sounds like you are doing a lot of great work with your son to develop those foundation skills like upper limb and hand strength. This will help support finding out his hand dominance as he increases his endurance and experiences less fatigue. Children at this age will swap hands generally for two reasons – one, they are fatigued and or two, they still are developing the ability to cross the “midline” of their body. It is still age appropriate to be developing hand dominance, over the coming months continue observing which hand he uses for certain tasks and place items for him to pick up to the centre of his body so he makes a more natural choice which hand to use (ie if you place a pencil on his left side he is more likely to pick up with his left hand and vice versa). In order to develop that hand dominance keep working on the upper limb strength and endurance and also work on some crossing midline activities – such as twister, simon says, t-ball, backyard cricket, hand tennis. Again with the knife and fork, you wouldn’t expect to see competence here until age 5-6 usually, but using a spook and fork to eat is age appropriate for your son’s age. Keep encouraging lots of pinch grip activities (e.g. picking up small beads in putty, spinning tops, peg work etc.) this will further promote finger dexterity and finger isolation, particularly of the first three digits – required for an appropriate tripod grip. Secondly, when engaging in pencil/texta activities try and use thicker textas/crayons/pencils and encourage a more ‘tripod’ based grip. Using visual guides (e.g. stickers where the thumb and fingers need to go) can further support this. Be patient with this and also not too ‘overbearing’, as you don’t want to discourage your son from engaging in fine motor activities.

        In regards to the ligament laxity in the index fingers, it is difficult to comment here, it may be worth checking this with a health professional to see if any further support is needed here.

        Many thanks

        PS We did a blog post on both crossing midline and hand dominance a while back – this may be of interest to you.

  • Elise Kellett
    Posted at 10:26h, 18 June Reply

    Thank you very much for your helpful information! the details were a very good reminder for me as a kindergarten and pre-kindergarten teacher in WA. This info was exactly what I was looking for to help out the parents of my students. (I gave them your website address also)
    Thanks again! OT’s are brilliant!

  • madiha khan
    Posted at 22:52h, 23 October Reply

    thnx a lot for this information u told us in a very good way i m really thakful to u

  • Carol Elliott
    Posted at 03:21h, 13 November Reply

    Great piece of work. I’m interested to know what you think about older children 9,10,11 that have developed an unhelpful grip, thumb wrap over for example. I’m working on the prerequisite skills, developing strength, mobility, finger isolation, manipulation etc etc etc but the grip is stubbornly remaining the same. At what point would you give up trying to change the grip if at all even though it is not at all functional. What would you do in therapy?

    • otfc
      Posted at 08:56h, 13 November Reply

      Given each case is different, and without knowing the child, it is difficult to provide any specific advice. As such, advice provided is of a general nature.

      By the age of 9,10,11 – most children have developed a pencil grip that is likely to remain with them for life. As mentioned, the dynamic tripod grip is the most effective grip, which develops with age. By age 7, if a grip is still the same, and is impacting on function, e.g. reduced hand endurance, reduced writing speed, reduced letter formation etc. then it is far more difficult to ‘correct’ a grip at that stage.

      Whilst you do not want to ‘give-up’ trying to work on pencil grip, there is a limit. By ages 9-11, if a pencil grip is somewhat supporting the child’s needs, but not an ideal grip, looking at alternaitve communication methods could be a better strategy, i.e further typing skills. Trying to correct a child’s grip at that late stage will often be met with frustration from the child and a further lack of desire to engage in fine motor tasks.

      In therapy, we might look at trialling tripod pencil grip supports, which can be place on pencils, to provide a visual guide of where to place fingers, and these can be trialled from ages 5-7. In addition, continuing to look at the underlying difficulties leading to pencil grip, such as tactile perception, dexterity, finger isolation, intrinsic hand muscle strength, endurance and arm/shoulder stability are equally important.

      However, pencil skills go far beyond the pencil, and even the hand. There may be more than just pencil grip difficulties. There may be touch perception/ body awareness difficulties at play, which can impact how a child holds a pencil? Often there are many reasons that pencil grips are difficult for children – e.g. sensory processing – as such OT assessment and intervention would look at identifying and addressing a number of areas. Until you undertake an OT assessment, it is difficult to know all the details.

  • Jess
    Posted at 17:34h, 20 February Reply

    Thanks for the helpful info. I have some experience with this since I used to teach kindergarten for 10 years. I have one student right now that I am homeschooling who is using a tripod grip, however she is constantly raising up her pointer finger as shown in the quadripod picture. I already have her practicing lots of fine motor activities. I have already tried using a regular pencil grip. Is there anything else I can do?

    • otfc
      Posted at 07:25h, 03 March Reply

      Without knowing this child, the advice I can give is only of a general nature. From what you have described, it may be useful to try a ‘cross over’ pencil grip, to encourage a tripod grip. By the sounds of it she is able to perform that grip, but may be unaware of her fourth finger climbing back onto the pencil. Another idea is to place a small ball (e.g. marble, cotton ball) in the last two fingers to continue to provide something for those two fingers to do, so the fourth finger doesn’t become part of the grip. Continuing to try activities with pinch grips (turning nuts and bolts, picking up small beads) can further assist with strengthening and creating a greater hand awareness to those fingers required for a tripod grip.

      • Emma
        Posted at 19:07h, 11 October Reply

        I have been a quadrupod gripper all my life and have had numerous teachers try to change it. I had the best handwriting in the class and then went on to get an Illustration degree. Fine motor skills are my THING. Now, I design calligraphy based illustrations and chalk boards for a living.

        I don’t think it is important to correct a child. I just found it rude and unhelpful, especially considering that there was nothing wrong with my handwriting. Why can’t we leave them alone?

        Is there any evidence that this impacts their learning?

        I can write both ways, but still prefer to the quadrupod method.

        • otfc
          Posted at 03:49h, 13 October Reply

          Hi Emma,

          I think this is a fair point. For most children, a dynamic tripod grip is always going to be the most desirable grip, given it is the most advanced of the pencil grips. As such, there is always the aim to promote this grip, as physiologically and anatomically it produces the most accurate, controlled and least fatiguing results.

          However, I have worked with a number of children who develop a dynamic quadrapod grip which is very functional. This is where I always draw the line; if it is functional and is not causing great fatigue – leave the grip alone. For us, function and learning go hand in hand. If a child can develop a grip that is functional, then they’re always going to have greater success in fine motor skills. You are a clear example of someone who found a functional grip, who managed to adapt to suit your needs and achieve academic success!

          Sometimes it can be more disadvantageous to drastically try and change a grip (especially when most pencil grips are well formed by around 6-7 years of age). In my view, if a child’s handwriting is legible, well spaced and the there are age appropriate foundations for handwriting, then the grip should remain.

          From an OT perspective, we are always wanting to look at function. If there is excessive fatigue, writing is illegible or there are difficulties with foundation fine motor skills (e.g. finger isolation, dexterity) then we will always try to work on supporting a more effective an functional way to write. If this means adapting the grip, then we will do so, however this is not the only component.

          Unfortunately, handwriting and pencil grips are a big topic of discussion, and I don’t want to write an essay! I think, as mentioned in this post, that it is important that people appreciate the ‘natural development’ of fine motor skills and pencil grips. As such, a dynamic tripod grip is often going to be more ‘mature’ than a quadrpod grip, however it doesn’t mean a quadrapod grip cannot be successful and functional.

          Thanks for your comments. I hope my reply sheds some light on your how we try to approach pencil grips!

  • Allison
    Posted at 21:38h, 20 October Reply

    This is interesting information. My son is 3 3/4 years old and uses what I’m pretty sure is the fisted grip when drawing and writing. Though, now that I look at the pictures above I need to watch him again to see exactly what his grip is like.He seems to be left-handed and I wonder if that has any influence on development of pencil grips. I haven’t been to worried about it as I figured as he gets older, he’ll develop other ways of holding the pencil. I’m concerned though because I met with his teacher today who told me I need to “insist that he holds his pencil with three fingers” and that she has to “remind him all the time” and he’ll do it for a minute before switching back to the fisted grip. We live in Spain, so kids start school fairly young (at three years old—and my son was actually 2 3/4 when he started due to the cutoff dates they use here). To me, he seems too young to be insisting that he holds a pencil a certain way. He loves to draw and has been practicing writing numbers in school with great enthusiasm. I would hate to discourage this by insisting he hold a pencil a certain way before he is developmentally ready to do so. My husband participated in a workshop one day in the classroom and he noticed that the other kids kept telling my son that he was holding his pencil wrong. He’s one of the youngest kids in the class. I’m worried that he’s going to develop an aversion to writing and drawing with all this attention to pencil grip. Just wondering if I’m off base in the way I’m thinking? Thanks in advance for any thoughts you can offer.

    • otfc
      Posted at 11:09h, 27 October Reply

      This is tricky Allison. From a developmental perspective, the grips do tend to follow the above patterns. Rather than focus so much on pencil grip per se, I would certainly look at ensuring he has developed a hand dominance. By this I mean try a number of writing, drawing, colouring etc. activities that use what sounds like his emerging dominant hand, Left, and consolidate this.

      I agree with the aversion to writing if he is constantly discouraged. Continue also to work on foundation fine motor skills such as dexterity, finger isolation, hand strength and endurance to create a fun and supportive way to develop ‘good hands and fingers’ to further support pencil grip development in the future.

      • Allison
        Posted at 11:12h, 28 October Reply

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I will try to find some fine motor skill activities that can help my son develop a basis for a good pencil grip. If you have any suggestions for good websites to check out that illustrate these types activities, please feel free to pass them on! Thanks again!

  • walrus1998headshothippo
    Posted at 15:14h, 02 December Reply

    thanks for posting.

  • Mel
    Posted at 22:01h, 06 December Reply

    Thank you for your very useful information.
    I currently support 4-5 year old children in developing fine and gross motor skills. While I am making provision for their development in the classroom, with your permission, I would like to draw on your web information, to compile an information sheet for parents so they can support their children at home.
    I would be grateful if you could advise (as soon as possible), if this is acceptable to you. Many thanks.
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
    Kind regards

    • otfc
      Posted at 10:30h, 13 December Reply

      Hello Mel. Happy for you to share our information. If you could also make mention that you sourced the information from the OTFC blog, or have our logo on the document, then that would also be appreciated.
      Glad the information could be of use to you!

  • Web Design
    Posted at 11:16h, 07 December Reply

    Thanks for posting! 🙂

  • Maria
    Posted at 23:34h, 26 January Reply

    I’m a Kindy teacher.I have always children to use large crayons and thick markers to draw and write with at this age. I was disappointed to see that thin wind up crayons, and lead pencils had been asked for in the children’s stationery packs this year. At what age is it appropriate to use these items. I think it’s too early for children who are just turning 4 but I also feel compelled to use them as they have been paid for. I have always had a couple of containers in the room to be used if children are ready.Parents were also asked to provide their own scissors, left or right and I was concerned as lots of children haven’t developed a dominant hand at this age. Your thoughts please ?

    • otfc
      Posted at 10:19h, 08 February Reply

      Hi Maria. This is just my personal view, and may not necessarily be shared by all at OTFC.
      I think sometimes kindergarten settings can ‘rush’ children into fine motor skills. While it is important to promote these skills in a supportive environment, only having thin crayons and lead pencils I don’t think properly allows for the wide range of confidences in fine motor skills. I don’t know if there is a perfect ageto use thin crayons and pencils, as some children appear more able to do so at a younger age, than others. I have always been an advocate of exploration early on, and once a child has developed fine motor confidence, a hand preference, appropriate pre-writing skills, supporting foundation skills for fine motor tasks (e.g. shoulder stability, postural control, dexterity), then you can begin to increase the fine motor challenge (e.g. smaller pencils, fine writing points). As for scissors, hand dominance is always a hard one and I think it is important the kindy have Left and Right handed tools, to support natural and emerging dominance for all children.

  • Lucy Townsend
    Posted at 03:46h, 14 February Reply

    Hello and thank you for this wonderful information.
    I have a 4.5 year old who uses the Quadripod grip or 4 finger grip, given his age should I be manipulating his fingers into the static tripod grip or leaving his grip alone?

    • otfc
      Posted at 10:16h, 22 February Reply

      Hello Lucy. Firstly, I would certainly be encouraging lots of pinch grip activities (e.g. picking up small beads in putty, spinning tops, peg work etc.) this will further promote finger dexterity and finger isolation, particularly of the first three digits – required for an appropriate tripod grip. Secondly, when engaging in pencil/texta activities try and use thicker textas/crayons/pencils and encourage a more ‘tripod’ based grip. Using visual guides (e.g. stickers where the thumb and fingers need to go) can further support this. Be patient with this and also not too ‘overbearing’, as you don’t want to discourage your child from engaging in fine motor activities.

  • Jackie May
    Posted at 17:01h, 20 March Reply

    It is sooo good to read your information. I am an OT turned Primary School Art teacher K3-2nd grades. I encourage the classroom teachers to use thicker pencils etc. I use thick drawing pencils for all my students. It just puts everyone on the same page, especially for the boys, and seems they thrive with it. I teach at a very academic school and while they do a great job with appropriate pencil grip, they continue to think….”small hands = small(thin)” pencils starting age 5. The four year olds use thick pencils , they just do tooooo much writing. They also reallly push printing at age 4. I love your info included in your Pencil Grip article regarding…arm,wrist finger movements as it relates to development of writing. Thank you!!!!!!!!! Jackie

  • sonam
    Posted at 08:39h, 28 April Reply

    Hi ,
    M mother of 2 n half year daughter.
    She used to grip her pencil in static tripod grip or sumtimes dynamic tripod grip . I dnt learn her how to hold or grip.
    She took only two practice time from me(hardly half an hour )..on 3rd day she learnt…she knows how to draw standing sleeping slanting nd curvy lines. (m surprised)…she begins to write alphabet And numeric 2 wdout any pressure… question is m so scared about her writing in future coz she put lil pressure on paper while writing sumtimes thin nd blurry lines…nd second thing about her finger arms nd shoulder muscles coz she is under weight nd so lean her finger nd arms r so fragile .m trying to stop her bt she wants to write independntly …m scared sumwhere it may harm her soft nd lean finget nd hands.
    Sorry for writing mistakes….

    • otfc
      Posted at 11:51h, 09 May Reply

      Hello Sonam, it is pleasing to see your daughter so keen to engage in writing tasks at such an early age. In response to your first question, if you feel her writing is light or she puts little pressure, then you can try and use a darker pencil (i.e. 2B) or you can encourage her to draw over embossed stencils, so she has to push harder on the page to get a result. In response to your second question, you can work on activities to support her upper limb strength and postural control (e.g. animal walks, wheelbarrow walks) and tasks that involve finger strength and endurance (e.g. twisting nuts and bolts, working with putty or playdough, playing games with pegs). I hope some of this helps.

  • Beena
    Posted at 05:09h, 06 June Reply


    I am from India & your web site came up when i was researching pencil grips for my son. I need guidance on using pencil grips for my 6year old son in Grade 1. Firstly, i would like to share with u that he is a left hander and grips his pencil between the index finger & middle finger. He has a neat handwriting& very good colouring skills. I am just a bit concerned that will his odd grip style be a trouble in the future? He on & off complains of pain between the grip fingers.

    A therapist suggested using pencil grip & trying to encourage him to write with the normal grip using thumb n fingers. Please guide me, as his school unfortunately has no qualified therapists. I will appreciate your response. If you think pencil grips work well for encouraging a normal grip then please suggest which type of grip to get. Thank you! Regards.

    • otfc
      Posted at 02:13h, 07 June Reply

      Hello Beena,

      It appear that your son has some good fine motor skills, despite his pencil grip. The pain he experiences between his fingers is obviously going to be the biggest concern, however it may be tricky for him to adapt his grip moving forward, without direct support. You can try a Crossover Pencil grip ( which can support a more dynamic tripod grasp on the pencil. This comes in Right and Left hand grips.

      My only concern is that I would not want your son to have a reduced desire to engage in fine motor tasks, because people have decided to modify his grip. If it is a grip that he has good functional output with (i.e. neat writing and not too much fatigue) then his current grip may be okay.

      However, I would still try and use the pencil grip to try and see if you can support a more mature and ergonomic grip.

      • Beena
        Posted at 22:56h, 08 June Reply

        Thanks a lot for your prompt and detailed response. I appreciate it. Let me try& get hold of the pencil grip you suggested. Will update you once i see his response to it. Thanks again. 🙂

  • Maggie Lesher, MA, OTR/L
    Posted at 04:49h, 09 June Reply

    There is an error in this document: A quadrupod grasp is not accurately depicted in the photo next to the description of the “Quadripod grip or 4 finger grip”. The photo below that is more like a quadrupod grasp. See

    • otfc
      Posted at 09:49h, 09 June Reply

      Hello Maggie. I see where you are coming from here. I would agree that a true quadrapod grip is closer to the image in your attached document. However, we decided to simplify the pencil grip images to show 4 fingers, and this grip would probably be better named as a ‘splayed’ grip or four finger. Thanks for your feedback and good to see other OTs are using the posts we provide!

  • Jo
    Posted at 08:52h, 15 July Reply

    I am interested in knowing should toddlers and preschoolers use crayons and pencils before using textas when drawing?

    • otfc
      Posted at 03:38h, 25 July Reply

      Hi Jo,

      For children this young I would be providing them with several options (short and stubby crayons, pencils, textas, chalk etc) and allow them to explore as they wish. Textas, crayons, pencils all provide different sensory input and different experiences and require different amounts of pressure to utilise. There isn’t a right or wrong medium to start with.

      Hope this helps.

  • Melissa
    Posted at 11:53h, 19 July Reply

    I’m a right-handed homeschooling mum with left-handed daughters. My eldest has always loved colouring and her pencil grip is good. My youngest who is now 6 has never enjoyed colouring activities and her pencil grip is unusual. I’ve shown it to some friends who are primary teachers and they say it is fine, but I’m worried it’s affecting her writing. She has a tripod grip, but uses her pinkie and ring finger to balance on. I think this is turning her hand over too much. I’ve bought a writing bracelet with a charm to hold in her hand, but she doesn’t like to use it. She also grips the pencil so tightly, but again doesn’t like using the pencil grips I’ve bought. Is this something she will grow out of? She’s a very active child and has excellent hand-eye co-ordination, but her fine motor skills would appear to use more work. Any advice much appreciated. Thank you.

    • otfc
      Posted at 03:30h, 25 July Reply

      Hi Melissa,

      Being left handed myself I can understand the frustrations around getting an ideal pencil grip! It is really difficult to comment on your daughter’s grip without seeing her in action and writing. The other thing to consider is your daughter’s positioning on her seat and how the paper is placed in front of her (for example, as a left handed person, I always angle my paper to the right so my wrist isn’t constantly “hooking”). My advice would be chat to her classroom teacher and see whether the teacher thinks the pencil grip is impacting her fatigue and written output during such tasks. If there are significant concerns it may be worth consulting an OT in your area.

      Many thanks

  • Paul Benjamin
    Posted at 17:14h, 10 August Reply

    Hi, my daughter loves to draw. Is often asking for paper & pens to draw. At about 18 months she started using, through no direction from us, the Static Tripod grip. Then at 20 months she was using the Dynamic Tripod grip and now at 21 months she drawing circles and things like connected ‘u’ like a wave…. if she new the alphabet it feels like she is could do linked writing.
    We have not taught her anything, she is a great mimic in this and other things… talking and other motor skills… I wanted to know if we should help/be directive?

    • otfc
      Posted at 01:12h, 16 August Reply

      Hi Paul thank you for your question. It sounds like your daughter is really excelling with her creativity in drawing. At 21 months old it is best to allow her to be creative in her drawings, without being too directive. Questions asking what she has drawn can help with pre-academic development. However as only 21 months old, allowing her to express herself, explore and enjoy the activity are most important, the pre-development skills will come naturally when she is ready. Just keep up the positive reinforcement.

  • Lisa Jones
    Posted at 22:23h, 01 May Reply

    Hi! My son is 8 (nearly 9) and still uses the digital pronate grip (I believe that’s the one — his palm is facing away from him and his pinkie is at the top of the pencil). I have tried to correct it but he is very uncomfortable when he tries to use any other grip. He can’t even seem to get his pencil into any other position. He has no other issues with motor skills or development; he simply never switched from this grip. I homeschool, so he never had a teacher in school enforcing a different way and I didn’t pressure him about it. He is able to write and draw for long periods without his hand tiring and his handwriting is legible. Should I just leave it alone or continue trying to get him to use the correct grip? Should I buy pencil grips to help him hold the pencil in the correct position? Thank you.

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 11:59h, 29 May Reply

      Thanks for your query. For the majority of people, a dynamic tripod grasp is the most effective way of writing, and what you have described for your son is an uncommon grasp for his age. In saying this, it can be difficult to change a pencil grasp after the early primary years (age 6-7). If his hand/arm is not getting tired, the speed of writing is good, and his writing is legible, it may not matter to keep this grasp. The only concern might be later in life if his grasp is significantly different to peers or co-workers and this affects his self-esteem. However, this is really a decision for you and your son to make. As he progresses into high school years, you could look into using other forms of writing (word processing).
      If this is something that is really concerning to you, I recommend you consult an OT in your local area.

  • Gretchen
    Posted at 06:41h, 10 May Reply

    Hello, the pictures are broken and not showing. Could you please check on that?

  • Daniel McMahon
    Posted at 22:03h, 25 September Reply

    There different ways how we teach our kids how to properly hold their pen, However, they cannot memorize it right away. There is an available a pen grip that will help them to write conveniently that can prevent the pen from falling.

  • Marina Torregrosa
    Posted at 18:35h, 26 September Reply

    Hello! My daughter, who is almost 8, was complaining the other day about a kind of blister in her finger. I realised that she was using the “quadripod” for writing. I don’t k ow if she has recently change or if it is the way she has been always doing. Just would like to know if I should encourage her to change to the frequent tripod or let her do the way she feels comfortable (that is what she says).

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 10:40h, 03 October Reply

      I think given that your daughter is 8 and she says she is feeling comfortable doing it this way it is going to be challenging to change her grip from what she is used to. However, if it is the grip that is causing the blisters, I would discuss with her teacher about ways to manage this and potentially consult an expert (ie an OT).

  • Donna
    Posted at 15:36h, 01 November Reply

    What size thickness of the pencil do you recommend for year 2 students- regular of the thicker style of?

    • Michelle Mennillo
      Posted at 12:16h, 14 November Reply

      It really depends on the student and the grip they are adopting – unfortunately one size does not fit all. We always prefer the triangle shaped pencils regardless of size as they encourage a tripod grip – good luck!

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