We all remember learning how to hold a pen back in our school days. Could the proper grip of a writing utensil really be a dying art form? According to a new report from England, some doctors are warning parents that kids are starting to have trouble holding pens the right way because of all the technology in their lives — especially touch screens. Then again, we're not so sure there truly is a "right" way to hold a pen at all.
"Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago," said Sally Payne, PhD. "Children coming into school are being given a pencil, but are increasingly not able to hold it because they don’t have the fundamental movement skills."
No one can deny that tech has become a huge part of just about every aspect of our lives, for better or for worse. Understandably, many of us are concerned about the potential effects phones and tablets could have on our kids — such as a possible higher BMI if they have screen time before bed. But let's back up for a moment about these handwriting concerns.
How to Hold a Pen, According to Science
Science has shown that there is probably more than one "right way" to hold a pen. A 2012 study of then-fourth-graders found that among four different pencil-holding techniques, no method emerged as the "best" choice for kids in the end.
The pencil-holding techniques include the following: dynamic tripod, dynamic quadrupod, lateral tripod, and the lateral quadrupod. Though the dynamic quadurpod is often touted as the preferred method of holding a pen or pencil, it speaks volumes that none of these grasps, all pictured below, appeared to really "win" in an actual scientific study.
The research team also suggested that alternative pencil-holding techniques could be completely acceptable for handwriting. We can't say we're too shocked! Remember back in the day how some of your classmates held their pens or pencils in different ways? We don't remember them having any issues getting assignments done. Who says they can't be unique?
However, if your child struggles with writing problems because of a lack of fine motor skills, that's different story altogether. In that case, he or she may need help from an occupational therapist in order to catch up with his or her peers.
But if your kid is writing legibly at a reasonable speed, you probably don't need to worry if he or she gets a little "creative" with the pencil grasp. Who knows? Maybe someday that way will be seen as the gold standard for handwriting!
h/t Science Alert