This Simple Hack Will Help Your Child Get the Right Grip on a Pencil

One veteran preschool teacher’s TikTok has gone viral for helping kiddos get the correct “tripod grip” on their writing utensils.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Assistant Editor
Published September 11, 2023
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Image: Pong Chan | Shutterstock

School is in full swing, and if your little one is struggling to get a grip—the right grip on their pencil, that is—Teacher Tok has a hack for you.

Jess, a veteran preschool teacher, recently shared the simple trick on her TikTok @preschoolvibes. Instead of watching your child struggle with a full-sized pencil, the mom of five simply suggests parents begin the pencil-holding process by using a crayon snapped in half.

This tiny writing tool keeps small hands from gripping underhanded, with a fist, or any of the other ways your kid might be contorting their hand. With the small piece, kids are forced to use the appropriate “tripod grip” and hone their fine motor skills. This translates into a better ability to control their pencil so they can write their name and more.

Parents from all over have lauded Jess for the simple 15-second hack that epitomizes the phrase think smarter, not harder. “Perfect! I was so confused on how to help my son. Thank you so much,” wrote one parent. “This is so smart, I never thought about this,” one user added. “BRB headed to break all my son’s crayons,” joked another mom.

For those in the comments who questioned why there had to be a correct way to hold a pencil, Jess outlined the importance of the standard “tripod grip” in another video. “The tripod grasp isn’t just a teacher’s whim,” she explains, “but a method backed by reason.”

“First, it’s about efficiency, the tripod grip is designed to give you the most control with the least effort and minimizes hand fatigue which is big when you are just learning how to write,” she notes.

Jess goes on to laud the tripod grip’s benefit to fine motor skills, future learning and overall comfort. “It’s not about stifling creativity. It’s about setting kids up for success in a way that’s both efficient and comfortable,” she concludes.

Still working up to getting your little one to hold a pencil? Check out these pediatrician-recommended activities and fun, stackable toys to help your child develop their fine and gross motor skills at every age.

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