Improving My Child’s Pencil Grip: Consulting with the Professionals


Are you wondering how to improve your child’s pencil grip? These day’s especially in large classroom setups, an issue with pencil grip can be easily overlooked- only to be discovered at a later stage! By which point, it may be very difficult to correct. How can we be proactive as parents and ensure that our child is on the right track?





For this blog, we’ve chosen to consult with a local professional on the matter, Elani Fourie. Elani is a registered Kinderkineticist at SAPIK (South African Institute for Kinderkinetics), and is also the owner of FourieKinderKinetika here in George. Pencil grip is one of the many areas she can help your child with! We asked her the following questions regarding pencil grip, and what we can do to help our children along.



1) What is the correct way to hold a pencil?

The preferred way to hold a pencil is what we call the Tripod grip. The tall finger on the side, the thumb acting as a pad under the pencil, and the index finger pointed towards the tip of the pencil.



2) What are some common pencil grip issues we find in children?

There are  number of issues that can be found in the way a child holds a pencil. Some children place too much pressure on the index finger (making the writing appear very dark), while other children have too loose a grip on their pencil (making the writing appear very feint). Some children grip on to the pencil in a fist rather than holding the pencil correctly. Another common issue found, is that the pencil is gripped too low, or too high on the pencil (causing the learner to have little control over the pencil).

3) Why do some of these issues occur?

More often than not, the cause of having incorrect grip is that the correct grip wasn’t shown and/repeated enough with the child. If you’ve found your child isn’t gripping his/her pencil correctly, don’t fret! Sometimes they just need to be shown and spend some time working on it.

Another cause of incorrect pencil grip, could be that the pencil being used is either too short or too long.  If your child’s pencil is too short, time for a new one!

There is the possibility that there could be an underlying sensory-motor issue that is causing your child to stress about writing, drawing or holding a pencil.

Children around age 5 can also be more stubborn about following their own ways. You might find that your child is adamant that the way he/she is holding the pencil is “the right way”. These children simply need to be motivated to understand the correct grip for school readiness. Praise them when they use the correct grip! They want your approval.

4) At what age should you be concerned about fine motor and pencil grip?

from grades RR – 1, pencil grip should be focussed on a lot, as these are the foundation years in which your child is preparing to start “big school”. No underlying issues can be diagnosed before the age of 7. So until then, let your child simply enjoy learning to write!


5) What are some tools that I can use to help my child learn to use the correct grip?

With all writing mediums, children must work with larger tools to smaller tools. They should first scribble with big crayons, then move over to smaller crayons. When they’ve mastered these, they can move over to pencils and kokis. To make a fun activity out of learning pencil grip- try out some of these ideas as well!


  • Paint! Children love paint, and it can be used as a fun way to get your child to enjoy learning about pencil grip.

  • Use an elastic band/hair tie to tie around the wrist and pencil in the correct position.

  • Try using a bulldog clip, or a clothing peg!

  • Make use of pencil grippers!






All of the above mentioned tools are available from Diskonto Stationers. Check out these products!





6) Basic exercises to help with pencil grip.

With pencil grip, you are exercising the bigger arm muscles as well as the small hand and finger muscles. Try using moulding clay for your child to play with. This will help strengthen those muscles, which in turn will help with pencil grip!






Set aside ten minutes in the day, where your child can draw a fun creative picture!

Have a fun painting day, where your child can experiment with different brush sizes (from thick to thin)! Diskonto even has shorter length brushes, which are the correct length for your child to learn to hold! You can also have your child finger paint in this time, as this is also a great exercise for learning pencil grip!

In between activities, teach your child to make stars with their hands, or shake out their hands to relax them.


7) How can the wrong pencil grip affect my child’s schoolwork?

– Your child’s handwriting will be affected, as it will appear messy and unorganized.

–  Right and left hand domination should be in place by now, and this could affect your child’s pencil grip if it is not yet in place.

– Schoolwork can become daunting and frustrating, as your child will be constantly corrected.

– If your child isn’t using the correct pencil grip, you may find that he/she doesn’t enjoy fun creative activities such as drawing, painting, writing stories- etc.

– Eventually, your child may become disruptive in the classroom.

– Homework may become a struggle.

8) How can Kinderkinetics help with pencil grip?

Sensory-motor ability is the basis for writing and reading, and if this is not well implemented, the steps that follow can also be negatively developed.  This is a bad circle of habits that can affect more than just writing as the child gets older.

RR/R/GR.1 can benefit positively from Kinderkinetics because this is the exact age that focusses on physical school readiness. Kinderkinetics enhances all aspects of physical activity, gross and fine motor developement in and outside of the classroom! It helps children between the ages of 0-13  in all aspects of life.

Specific exercises can be given in their sessions for many areas- including pencil grip.  Exercises are done in a fun and interesting way, without the child realising that work is being done.

Feel free to contact Elani at FourieKinderKinetika at 079 401 7845/ You can also visit her Facebook page at FourieKinderkinetika

She specializes in Babymassage and Stimulation (0-12 months), Babykinetics (1-2 years), Perceptual-Motor developement lessons (2-7 years), Sport and Wellness developement (6-13 years),  Obesity interventions (5-13 years) and Remedial sessions (6-13 years).

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