How To Teach Your Kid To Hold A Pencil 

How To Teach Your Kid To Hold A Pencil 

I recently attended a kindergarten orientation meeting, where – to my relief – the principal said there are only two things parents need to do to get a kid ready for school:

1) Keep reading to your kid.

2) Make sure they have a good pencil grip.

Illustration: Sam Woolley

No. 2 surprised people – the pencil grip isn’t something a lot of adults think about. But having an improper grasp can be a big deal. It means the child is not using his or her hand muscles efficiently, and therefore may tire out quickly, complain about arm or hand pain, or turn in illegible work. And problems can persist through adulthood. The sooner you can address any issues, the better.

Very early on, kids should be building their fine motor skills – digging their fingers in sand, moulding sculptures out of Play-Doh, tearing scraps of paper and zipping zippers – so that they have the muscles they need for pencil-gripping success. (In case you’re wondering, the “dynamic tripod grasp” is the ideal hold – the pencil is held between the tips of the thumb and index finger as it rests on the middle finger.)

If your child is having trouble holding a pencil properly, parents, teachers and occupational therapists have recommended some tricks that might be helpful:

1) The Sock Method

Illustration: Sam Woolley

Cut two holes in the toe area of a sock. Have your kid place their writing hand in the sock, slipping their pointer finger through one hole and their thumb through the other. Here’s a video from Sara McClure of the blog Happy Brown House.

2) The Pinch & Flip Method

Illustration: Sam Woolley

Have your child pinch the sharpened end of the pencil and flip it around until it rests in proper writing position.

3) The Crumpled Tissue Method

Illustration: Sam Woolley

Place a crumpled tissue between your child’s palm and last two fingers, and have them hold it there. It helps keep those extra fingers out of the way as they write.


  • And yet science completely disagrees with this opinion article, there are 4 main grips and which you should use varies based on how your hand is structured, dynamic tripod does not work on those with large hands and can cause excessive cramping and improper grip to your hand can aggravate things like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Log in to comment on this story!