The Tripod Grip? As you can see, my son fists his pencil while cataloging the numerous assaults issued by “good guys” and “bad guys”. While it is mostly a pleasure for me to watch him let his all-boy fantasy flag fly, I do get stuck on his pencil grip. I know from my first son that it’s all-important to get this down in Kindergarten, but I wonder how much reminding is actually helpful. He is a very imaginative guy who gets lost in his drawings. I worry that my “gentle reminders” are running the risk of becoming creativity crushers. Anybody have any insight on this?


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Comments (6)


  1. I’m a 3-year-old preschool teacher and would suggest working on it by helping him develop his fine motor skills, not by reminding him over and over. Stringing beads, scissor skills, and other fine motor activities will help develop the muscles and he’ll eventually grip the pencil the correct way!

  2. Posted by: michelle

    To this day, I wonder why a pencil is to be held a certain way. I remember staring blankly at teachers when they told me I needed to correct it. Looking down at my paper and great penmanship, then up at the teacher wondering….But, WHY? And I’m grateful that they didn’t focus on it too much or constantly correct me. It’s puzzling. I wonder who decided that was the right way? I still get compliments on my handwriting and feel a little proud when someone notices I hold my pen “funny”. It’s been something unique to me that people just accepted when they saw the results. (Ironically, my sister holds her pen correctly and has disastrous handwriting! lol… ) Just keep the focus on his awesome imagination and ask permission to write some of his story on the back of the paper. Maybe observing you writing will help him make a subtle adjustment? He sounds like a joy 😀

  3. Posted by: Suzanne

    I’m sure he’ll encounter a million fixes for this in school, but I know 2 things you are supposed to do: short pencils (like the little golf ones) and no markers (because they don’t require enough pressure against the paper).

    I don’t think you should worry. I think it will work itself out over the school year.

  4. I also stress about this! My son’s handwriting could REALLY benefit from the proper grip but he refuses. Teachers have done all they can. I actually said once, “Fine, have crappy writing then.” (!!!). I’ve decided I need to detach or it will grow into a much bigger monster than poor handwriting.

  5. Posted by: Lydia

    My sentiments exactly: how much should I worry that my 3.5yo daughter is a fist-gripper? I’ve stopped harping since that did NOT work. Instead we got a nice pack of short markers (but maybe now will we switch to short pencils per Suzanne’s rec) and out of desperation, I turned to youtube so that someone other than me could demonstrate what to do (she loved watching this video:
    After these changes, about half the time she uses a tripod grip so I’ve stopped worrying (for now…).

  6. Posted by: McMom

    Yeah…our son had a classmate who was referred to a “scissors tutor”, I kid you not. This was before the recession.

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