Does your child/teen cross their thumb over when they hold the pen? Write the bare minimum? Grip too tightly? Press hard? Write slowly? Complain of pain? Shake their hand? Hold the pen at a strange angle?
If any of the answers are yes, then when are you supposed to find extra time to work on these underpinning skills?
Household chores really are the answer!
- Pegging out the washing (for their pincer grip)
- Cleaning the windows (for their wrist strength)
- Folding and putting clothes away (for bilateral coordination)
- Sweeping/mopping/vacuuming (for shoulder girdle stability)
- Sorting laundry (for visual perception)
- Wiping down surfaces / cleaning bathroom (for hand strength)
- Washing the car (for crossing the midline)
- Taking out the rubbish (for proprioception)
- Watering the plants with a spray bottle (for finger strength)
- Cooking (eg. whisking, chopping, peeling, spooning, juicing, pouring and mixing)
- Darning, mending and sewing on buttons
- Locking up and unlocking doors
- Putting a wash on
- Cleaning shoes
- Scrubbing a step
- Tidying their room / the house
- Feeding pets
- Cleaning up after pets
- Setting/clearing the table
- Making/changing their bed
Not only are you helping their handwriting, you are also giving them a therapeutic activity that helps them feel a sense of control, order and achievement. Plus, you are equipping them with the skills they need to be a decent housemate, a good husband/wife and a nurturing mum/dad.
Which ones should you expect at what age? Here is one of many handy guides
These tasks also make perfect, short, wordless breaks to store the information they might have just learned.
Most importantly, they mean that you have five minutes more to either devote to them. Or just to sit down and have a cup of tea (maybe that they have made for you). Self-care for parents genuinely isn’t optional in times like these.