Pencil Grasp Development

~ Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 8:04 AM ~

A few weeks ago, a mummy friend of ours asked me to recommend the appropriate materials for drawing or writing. I shared to her one of the advice I got from my SIL who has loads of experience!

Use big size marker pens (non-toxic and best if easy to wipe off types)

To be honest, I never thought such tip would make any difference! I have previously tried on all sorts of activities for my 3.5 years old boy and also got myself frustrated when I see my boy not holding the pencil/pen properly. A friend shared this article with me and I was relieved to note that my boy is actually on the right track - in terms of his pencil grasp development.

Next step was I realised giving him doodling exercises like drawing lines, coloring, dot-to-dot does not make significant results until I applied my SIL's tip above. I took the leap of faith and gave my boy a red colored marker pen. Non-toxic ones of course!

I had previously refrained myself and my boy from touching a marker pen as I am really worried seeing marker pen stains all over my wall, furnitures and etc. Hence the leap of faith... So when I decided to give my boy the red marker pen, I sat right next to him and gently remind him to only use the marker pen on papers and books.

The first few times he was given the red marker pen, you can see his face beaming as he doodled and colors the white paper. Red bright thick ink flew across the paper and I then realised I should have done this earlier.

Why red? It is an eye catching color and also Ben's favorite color.

Why marker pen? It's ink is thick and the marker pen size is big, good for toddler to hold and grasp with their small fingers. It gives them confidence to hold a big pen - easier too I realised.

That's when I think back of all the wasted time and money I spend on getting my boy to use children color pencils or small size colored pens... I mean, they are good but not appropriate for his age now. At least not until he mastered his pencil grasp skills.

So now whenever I let my boy doodles, I gave him the red colored marker pen to use. I'm not too worried about the results of his doodling and drawing yet (there are parents who are very concerned that their child must be able to draw straight lines etc etc), my objective now is to ensure my boy mastered his pencil grasp skills.

You see the pictures below? You see how my boy holds the marker pen? That is the right way to hold the pen for his age, you know?

So, yeah, what I'm trying to say in this post is,

If you want your child to learn to write/draw,

build up their pencil grasp skills first,

before spending unnecessarily on tools which are not age/phase appropriate!

Just my 2 cents... That's all the updates I can share for now, feel free to ask and share if you have feedback!

Terrific Threes!

~ Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012 at 6:50 AM ~

I've blogged about the terrific twos stage when my Benjamin turned 2 years old in March 2011 and this year March 2012, he turned 3 years old. You know what? 3 years old is a pretty terrific age!

I'm loving this phase of my boy's life! Really!

You know what's so awesome with a child at this age?

You can reason (and bargain!) with them!

For instance, I can now reason with my child easily. He wants to go swimming? Sure, make sure you nap so you can have enough energy to go for a swim later, and voila, nap for 2 hours in the afternoon! Want to meet your cousins tomorrow? Sure, sleep early tonight! Voila!


He finally understand the logic and implication to a lot of things!

For everything that happens, I explain to him why it happens, what will happen if we continue or if we ignore the event and also explain to him the effects and repercussion of the event. And he nods away in total understanding. That is something I can never achieve before my boy turns 3 years old. He saw a boy running at the pool and fell down and hurt his leg, we explain to him this is why mummy and daddy always tell him not to run around, now you see what happened to that little boy? And he nods away and every and now and then, he will remind us of the boy who ran and fell down and hurt his leg.

I'm also very happy with this development milestone. It's so much easier for me to explain things to him when he understand the cause and effect and in this sense, easier for me to get the message across to him.


His vocabulary is getting richer!

Oh boy, his ballooning vocabulary means it is so awesome that i'm finally having a conversation with my own kid! We have been doing more reading nowadays (mostly me reading to him) but there are times when my 3.5 years old boy will tell me story (yup, you read that right!) before bedtime! Cute eh? He also asked a lot more questions nowadays, where do animals stay, what they eat, why certain things are like this, etc etc.


He is getting more responsible and dependable!

One time, my 1 year old girl needed to go poop real bad and there's just no time for me to rush upstairs to bring the potty (she uses her brother's potty) downstairs. It was then that my mother-in-law insisted I took off my girl's diaper and let her try her (as in my MIL) metal potty (gigantic type for old folks to use) and despite me telling my MIL no, she insisted that I let my girl try and when my girl yanks away the potty and one of her poop fell onto the kitchen floor (and got my MIL shrieking) I had no choice but to let her poop in her diaper (no time to even rush the bathroom).

In my mind, I wished I could ask my 3.5 years old boy to run upstairs and get his potty for his baby sister but I was worried he might spilled his potty so I decided to just keep myself quiet and waited for my girl poop finish. Can you believe this boy of mine actually went upstairs and quietly brought down his half full of piss potty (sorry, forgot to throw the piss away) and a new diaper for his baby sister?!

I was really astonished when he came downstairs holding his potty and showing me the potty and a new diaper for his sister - without staying a word. I was really really proud of my boy!

Household chores that I do everyday such as sweeping the floors, mopping the floors, all this he will gladly offered to help me out! Lately, he even helps me to sooth and entertain his baby sister when I need to rush downstairs to do something quick. So responsible and dependable for such a young age!


More independent nowadays!

I also noticed in his terrific three year old phase, my boy likes to do things himself. Oh well, he tries his best to do it himself first. Bathing himself, going to potty by himself (even pooping and all), playing his Lego and much more!


Emotionally more stable!

Before Benjamin turned 3 years old, there are lots of times he will bang his forehead to the wall or onto the floor when he throws a tantrum. No matter how we talked to him, warned him, tell him no, etc etc, he will just smack his forehead, bammmm... to release that pent up frustration I guess...

So it is definitely a good sign that when he turned 3 years old, we are seeing this wayyyyyyyyy less... in fact, I can't recall when was the last time he banged his forehead. Probably because he can now understand logic and repercussions, and he can control his emotions as well as express himself better.


Cognitive development getting better!

Now, Benjamin can correctly name familiar colors (I have not introduce the concept of light and dark colors - or to be more precise, tone colors not yet)

As part of our learning activities, my boy can recognise and immediately shows me items which are same or different, his imagination and pretend play is very good now, he can easily remembers parts of a story, counting wise still 1 to 10 and with fingers until 5, time concept just started last week (for example, morning we eat breakfast, afternoon we have lunch, night we have dinner).


Social skills improvement

My boy used to be very very shy (like me!) but lately I noticed he is more open and warms up easily to strangers. Sure, he does take his time to let his guard down but the time is definitely shorter now! Previously he will clams up and takes about an hour or few outings or encounters with the same person before he warms up to them but now, he approaches and befriends people more easily.

I am still teaching him to greet his relatives by their rank wise (in Chinese custom, we have names for eldest uncles, aunts, on father side, mother side, etc) instead of simply calling them by 'Uncle' or 'Aunty' so and so which is common.


That's all the updates I can share for now, feel free to ask and share if you have feedback!

** P.S: This post is in no way trying to undermine your child or bragging about mine, I'm merely posting and jotting down why I'm loving my child being in the 3 years old stage.

Seeing Through The Eyes Of Our Children...

~ Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 6:04 AM ~

Just the other day, I was rushing some invoicing work for my hubby and let my 3.5 years old boy played with his Lego blocks by himself. My 13 months old girl was napping at that time. Then my boy called me to check out his star Lego. I walked over and stood and can't see it. Had to stand for a while until I saw it.

Yup... that's a star alright!

Amazing right what our child can see in their own eyes and understanding? And few days later, he was playing with the bead shapes/blocks and told me he made a turtle. To be honest, it took me a few minutes before I am able to see it!

Awesome or what?! I am just so freaking proud with what my boy did! So so so amazing!

So, yeah, what I'm trying to say in this post is,

Learn to see through your child's eyes!

Do not underestimate their imagination and creativity.

Never look down or brush away their discoveries!

Just my 2 cents... That's all the updates I can share for now, feel free to ask and share if you have feedback!