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  • Writer's pictureJoan Toh

My Child Can’t Write. How?

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

Children who have a problem writing

Do you see your child struggling with writing and get frustrated trying to teach them how to write? Maybe your child is unable to hold the pencil right or is unable to write nicely. Parents get frustrated looking at their messy writing or their inability to hold the writing tool.

Here are some tips to help your child.

1. Introduce play every day

We observe almost everyday young children between the ages two to five struggling to maneuver their hands around things and truthfully writing is tough – in fact, painful for them! As a preschool teacher, I have heard children saying “Teacher, my hand pain.” when they scribble on the paper and that is exactly it. It sounds like an excuse for adults but for children, it is painful because the muscles in their hands are not fully developed. Hence, play is important. Train their gross and fine motor skills through various activities, such as playing with the ball, going to the playground, and building sandcastles.

2. Encourage them to rest in between writing or colouring time

Understanding that it is a painful process for children when it comes to writing or colouring, encourage them to take short breaks in between. It is okay to put the writing tool down and relax their hands for a minute or two before continuing. This is especially true for lower primary school children.

3. Choose the right writing tool

Picking the suitable writing tool is important for children. From two to three years old, thick crayons are recommended as they are unable to hold tiny grip for too long. Pencils and colour pencils are suitable for four years and above when the hands are stronger.

A child using crayons to express their creativity and experiment

4. Start small and have fun

As adults, we often expect children to be excited about colouring or writing but they might not be. Let’s help them to learn while having fun by starting them with a small colouring photo or a short five to ten minutes writing session. Also, start with something your child is interested in and sing a song during the process to keep it fun and entertaining.

5. Be generous with your praises

Lastly, do not hold back your praise! Completing the short writing session, praise them for being able to sit and get the activity done and tell them that they will try it for a longer session next time. See their eyes spark up when they receive your positive reinforcement and look forward to the next session.

6. Do activities

All in all, play and activities are key to enhancing your child’s writing ability. Here are some activities you can do:

For Preschoolers

a. Sensory rice trays

Sensory rice tray

Make colourful rice trays and practice writing the alphabet using their fingers or with a paint brush.

Links to help you create your own Sensory Trays

b. Straw threading

Easy to recreate at home and this works on the dexterity and pincer grip.

Link to help you create your own Straw threading material at home

For Lower Primary

a. Writing cards/list

kids creating cards for their classmates

Write cards or notes to their friends or get them to write the grocery list for you before heading to the supermarket.

b. Crossword puzzles

simple crossword puzzle

Simple crossword puzzles to keep their mind active while practicing to write.

Link for more kid friendly crossword puzzles


Understanding your child and their development is important when it comes to helping them in their learning. In Singapore, we place a lot of emphasis on academics and encourage children to write early in life. However, we hope this article helps you understand why they have trouble with writing and how you can help them with it.

If anything fails, just remember to have fun with your child in learning and at Acekids, they live by that motto in learning. Practice Math daily with your child through this app and have fun learning and bonding with each other.

About the Author

Hey there, I am Joan Toh. An Early Childhood Practitioner and Writer. In the day, I work with a childcare centre as a Trainee Teacher as I complete my teaching diploma. At night, I do sports and keep an active lifestyle. I truly believe that parents and educators are the best role model for children.

I've been in the Education industry for more than 10 years with children across a wide range of age group (6 months to 16 years). I have been a private tutor, right brain enrichment instructor, math enrichment teacher, and now, an upcoming preschool teacher.

Over the years, I saw the shift in parenting style and realised how much parents will benefit when I share my educational tips with them. Hence, I've decided to start writing. In here, you will get a range of topics and personal experiences which will help you in all areas of development of your child - physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional. For more info, check out my website here.



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