Kid's Pencil Grasps For 1 to 8 Year Olds

This topic deserves more attention than you think.

Have you been wondering how to deal with kids’ pencil grasps? Are your children struggling with their handwriting? There are ways you can help improve their legibility. But first, you need to know the techniques yourself.   

If your kids don’t learn to hold a pencil the right way, they will continue to struggle for life. The chances are that they will be judged at every stage of life based on their handwriting.

Learning the right technique is crucial for the right development. They need to learn legibility while writing. It is all about their motor and hand movement development.  

Good handwriting can be developed only through practicing good technique. It needs to be monitored from a very young age. Kindergarten is the best time when you can monitor your kid’s pencil grasp and try to correct it.  

However, to monitor your kids, you must be aware of all the correct grasp first. There are different styles to go about teaching your kids to grasp. This blog will cover all the different stages of holding a pencil properly with their corresponding age.

The sequence of development in pencil grasps goes as follows:

  • Fisted grasp: At a very early age, or as toddlers, children start gripping things. That is when they use this type of grasp. This is a technique where all five fingers grab the pencil or crayon and make a fist. Usually, 1-1.5-year-old kids start with this type of hold. They usually use their shoulders to scribble on vertical surfaces.  


  • Palmer Supinate grasp: When children are 1.5 to 2 years old, they start holding pencils using their palm, but facing outwards and the pencil held across their palm. At that age, children develop a little bit more control over their hands and shoulders but still use their whole hands to scrawl. Supinate stands for the outward positioning of the palm.


  • Digital pronate grasp: Children will hold the pencil downward with their palm angled towards the paper and thumb and fingers holding it. The movement of writing is from the shoulder and elbow. It is mostly seen among children between 2 and 3 years of age.


  • Quadropod grasp- This type of grasp is seen among children between 3 and 4 years old. Four fingers are used to hold the pencil and this type of grasp is the beginning of learning the right way. The movement here is from the wrist and forearm of your child.   


  • Static Tripod grasp- This hold is kind of a tripod where the thumb, index finger, and middle finger hold the pencil. It is seen usually among kids after 4 years of age. The static word means the fingers that hold the pencil remain static and the whole wrist and forearm move to write. The remaining two fingers are folded in the palm and support the pencil.


  • Dynamic Tripod grasp- The word dynamic is for fingers that hold the pencil in a style similar to static but moving. This type of hold is seen among children between 4 to 8 years old. Here the two fingers are folded and support the wrist on the paper. The pencil is held at an angle toward the paper. It is considered the right way to write. By this age, children normally learn the correct pencil grasp. Their fingers, forearm,  elbow, and shoulder are strong enough to hold and let move the pencil independently. This marks the correct growth in pencil grasp.  


There are other functional grasps other than the one mentioned here such as Adapted Tripod grasp, Dynamic Quadropod grasp, Lateral Tripod grasp, etc.

The main motive is to find out if the child’s handwriting is legible, and if he/she is writing using their fingers alone. If they can complete a drawing or a writing task without getting tired and that too neatly, then it is an acceptable style. Your kid is doing fine.  

You need to monitor the style of grasp considering the corresponding age. In case they are unable to hold the right way or find it difficult, you can always try with a thicker or a thinner pencil to improve your child's grasp. Children with weaker grasp can be helped with thicker pencil grips and children who find holding difficult with thick pencils can be given thinner pencils to improve their grasp.

If your child’s writing is still illegible, and you have tried training them but failed, you must consult a professional and seek help.  

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