Almost 4 and easily frustrated-learning to write letters - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was hoping for some pointers. My dd has often shown frustration fir not getting something right the first time. When she gets frustrated, she throws whatever is in her hand. We've managed so far but now that she wants to learn her letters and gets upset when her first try doesn't look like mine, I'd like some pointers.

Since she is eager to learn letters, any tips on a good way to teach that? She can trace mine perfectly but freestyle, it doesn't come out the way she wants it to. Then she throws the pen and says she can't do it.

I talked to her about how when I was a little girl, it took me a long time to learn letters. She seemed interested in that. I told her a lot of times when you learn something new, you make mistakes or don't get it at first and that's why we practice. I think she heard me.

Any specific ideas on the frustration? I remember taking golf lessons with a friend and I was happy to practice, didn't care if I messed up, while my friend got frustrated on the first day of a new lesson. Is this just personality type? Can I help her learn to be more patient with herself? I admit that I have put things away that frustrated her because I don't like being hit by flying objects (wooden puzzle pieces in particular.) But when she asks to learn something, I want to help her. smile.gif

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#2 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 10:23 AM
 
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You can use fingerpaints (or pudding if you want delicious) for finger writing of letters. She could also finger write in flour, sand, or similar material.

 

for use of a pen or pencil, there are many dry erase materials. I just bought 2 at walmart in the school supplies section. It shows the letter and the specific lines & direction of the line, but gives plenty of space for trying it oneself. Those were less than $3. each, one capital and one lower case alphabet.


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#3 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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My son is like this- and so am i.   sadly If it is hard I don't want to do it.... What I do with my son is just tell him to put it up for a little while and try again. HE will try to draw something and we will end up with a floor covered in balled up peices of paper he was not satisfied with.

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#4 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 02:11 PM
 
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http://www.handwritingworksheets.com/

 

Check out this website, you can print 'guided' handwriting worksheets, makes it easier for kids that are just starting out.

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#5 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 03:41 PM
 
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I noticed that when writing on extra-large paper, or in the sand at the beach, the letters are better-formed.

 

Also, if you have any old samples of some of your work as a kid, that would be fun to see.  My oldest--now 7yo-- really got frustrated by her lack of perfection, and writing and drawing were practiced in fits and starts.  5yo dd2 doesn't seemed bothered by her lack of perfection and just does in any way.

 

Recently, I've been giving my fidgety dd1 a clipboard of paper for her to doodle on when we read our long stories.  If nothing else, it gives her a chance to strengthen her fingers (not to mention, saves our furniture from looking like a school desk!)  She has finally developed confidence in her letter-writing skills.  It is helpful that she is beginning to read, and can copy words that she can read, instead of letter-by-letter without any understanding of how they work together.

 

Encouraging drawing also helps with hand strength and control.  My girls like to get blank sketch pads or hard-backed notebooks to scribble in anywhere they want-- in the car, on a hike-- anything to get pencil in hand and exercise it!

 

Also, check on the pen she is writing with.  Some don't write so well at the odd angles that little kids try, and some are not smooth.  Better to try with a softish pencil (I like #1's, if you can find them), crayons, or markers, or ink-pen style pens.  Those all write easily from those acute angles like my youngest often uses.

 

Also, if you feel it is appropriate, to remind her that many kids don't learn to write well until at least 6 or 7, even 8yo.  My oldest does like to hear if she's doing well compared to kids her age.  Pointing out the places where you see improvement can be very encouraging, though sometimes it just isn't enough.  That I know from experience with my 7yo!


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#6 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 11:01 PM
 
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I'd give it a rest for a while. If she really wants to make them perfectly, then buy her some stencils to play with. But the very fact that she gets easily frustrated when they don't come out "right" suggests that she'd not ready for this task yet. She's not yet 4. I bet if you do things that require fine motor skills (drawing, playdough, beading, etc.) that in 6 mos to a year, she'll be getting it.

 

If you really want to work on this, the best curriculum by far that I know of is called "Handwriting Without Tears" http://www.hwtears.com/hwt It was developed by occupational therapists. For your daughter's age, she'd still be doing the PreK materials -- that focuses on composing letters from playdough, in sand, with big wooden shapes and by tracing, with their fingers, bumpy letters on cards. There are probably things like that you can do without the curriculum, but you might want to browse their site for ideas. Ds worked with the printing book with his OT, and I got the cursive book for him too. He's never bothered with it ,but his little sister has gone through it and can do a passable cursive now at age 7. Since my kids aren't gifted in fine-motor skills, that's pretty good.


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#7 of 10 Old 02-03-2012, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the helpful replies!!!
Lately she likes to have me show her the letters, which is nice, and tell her what things start with, and she's tried a few more letters. smile.gif Fortunately, her name starts with H and she mastered that one a long time ago. I Love how little ones go from zero apparent interest in something to much interest in something. It's neat to see. smile.gif

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#8 of 10 Old 02-03-2012, 11:40 AM
 
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Yes, definitely try letting your child write in pudding on a cookie sheet or in shaving cream on the shower wall.  That will make it more fun, plus it won't show "mistakes" as much as pencil on a paper shows.  I like these tracing letters worksheets because they have lots of fun pictures on them that my 4yo really likes, so I think they hold his attention more than other worksheets.

 

Is it possible it's just a phase?  That she's not interested in writing right now?  Just a thought, since I know I've had that issue with my son from time to time.

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#9 of 10 Old 02-06-2012, 11:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomtoDandJ View Post

Yes, definitely try letting your child write in pudding on a cookie sheet or in shaving cream on the shower wall.  That will make it more fun, plus it won't show "mistakes" as much as pencil on a paper shows.  I like these tracing letters worksheets because they have lots of fun pictures on them that my 4yo really likes, so I think they hold his attention more than other worksheets.

 

 


Yes, ditto this!!  Also ditto the handwriting without tears.  By using a pencil/pen to write letters you're actually working on TWO skills at once (pincer grasp/motor control AND visual motor integration...which is basically being able to look at the shape of the letter and copy it).  If you use pudding/paint, etc. then you can actually focus on the proper shape of the letters and decrease the frustration that happens due to a 4 year old's poor fine motor control.  

 

Tracings are a good way to practise motor control, but stick to non pencil/paper activities to actually learn the letter shapes first before using pen/paper.

 

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#10 of 10 Old 02-06-2012, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomtoDandJ View Post

Yes, definitely try letting your child write in pudding on a cookie sheet or in shaving cream on the shower wall. That will make it more fun, plus it won't show "mistakes" as much as pencil on a paper shows. I like these tracing letters worksheets because they have lots of fun pictures on them that my 4yo really likes, so I think they hold his attention more than other worksheets.

Is it possible it's just a phase? That she's not interested in writing right now? Just a thought, since I know I've had that issue with my son from time to time.


I am loving all the suggestions!

She asked me to show her so she could draw a particular letter, so I wanted suggestions on how to do that.


Kimberly, in love with Hannah Rose! (04/08) EC grad!
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