How to Help Your Child Master The Pencil Grip

How to Help Your Child Master The Pencil Grip

How to Help Your Child Master The Pencil Grip

Throughout your life you may have noticed people around you holding pencils each in their own unique way, but did you stop and think to yourself, is there actually a correct way to hold a pencil? 

Research has proven that holding a pencil in certain ways can cause issues with one’s fine motor and writing skills in the short or long term. The Pencil Grip is one of the essential skills you can teach your child as no child is naturally born with that skill, it is a gradual process that should be acquired starting at the age of 3. Teaching your child the pencil grip could be a time consuming activity, but all you need is patience, and this article to guide you through the process. In this article, you will learn about the correct pencil grip and how to help your child master it.

Signs that your child is trying too hard

When learning a new skill or practicing a new activity, there should be a positive and relaxing energy so your child can focus on learning and does not feel too pressured. Some signs that your child might be tensed up:

  • White or red knuckles indicate they are putting pressure on their joints
  • Pencil tips breaking frequently
  • Paper getting wet or ripped

Your child should be more relaxed while practicing or coloring so their fingers don’t tire quickly.

The Correct Way

Throughout their early childhood, most children will stumble upon the different ways of holding a pencil until they finally, with the right guidance, reach the correct way recommended by experts, The Dynamic Tripod.

The Dynamic Tripod is achieved when the child uses the tip of their index finger and their thumb to hold the pencil and rests it on the side of their middle finger.  

Some other methods children use to grip the pencils are the: Lateral Tripod, Dynamic Quadrupod, and Lateral Quadrupod. 

The second most common grip, the Lateral Tripod, involves the same fingers as the Dynamic Tripod however, the placement of the thumb is different which doesn’t allow it to influence the shapes forming.

The Dynamic Quadrupod method uses the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the ring finger to grip the pencil. This method can cause the hand to wear out more quickly as the whole hand relies on the pinky to support and stabilize it.

The Lateral Quadrupod method uses the thumb and the ring finger, using the thumb to guide and hold the pencil while the pencil rests on the ring finger. 

Which is why, the recommended way by experts is the Dynamic Tripod. Here are some tips on how you can help your child master it.


Master the grip with these techniques

  • Use a triangular pencil 

Start your child with a triangular shaped pencil. This will naturally assist them into the dynamic tripod grip as the shape of the pencil has 3 sides which helps the child understand that they only need to use 3 fingers, one for each side.

  • Strengthen the grip

Train their grip by giving them things to hold. Such as hard wax that is easy to make at home and could be shaped into attractive objects with different colors, and guide them to hold it between their fingers and palm.

  • Fingerless Glove hack

Assist them in maintaining their grip by creating a 2 hole sock glove to help them keep their fingers in a fixed position.

  • Dot the pencil 

You can also draw 3 dots on the pencil to represent where the child should exactly place their fingers. 

  • Use smaller pencils. 

Using short pencils will get rid of any unnecessary space for your child’s tiny hands and help them use only the necessary fingers for this activity.

  • Occupy their palm

Make your child hold something while trying to get the correct grip. Occupying the palm of their hand with an object such as a tissue, a small ball or a rubber toy will make their last three fingers hold on to the object and the first two fingers to focus on the pencil.

  • The tiny rubber helper

Last but not least, you can use a tiny little helper to guide your child. Pencil adapters are placed on the tip of the pencil and allow you to place two fingers as well to help your little one master The Tripod Grip.


Don’t sweat it

Mastering the pencil grip is an important skill for your child to work on at home, since using an incorrect pencil grip for long periods of time could cause their fingers to tire easier. Working on it with the different techniques mentioned will help them develop a readable handwriting and enjoy activities such as drawing and coloring for longer times. Guiding your child, allowing them to take their time while learning the pencil grip is and encouraging them in a positive way is the key, and most importantly, don’t sweat it, all children learn and develop at their own pace.