The iPad Generation

Yes, I’m back on my educational soapbox!

You know I’m back to work when issues regarding school children start inspiring my posts!

Today, my gripe is grip.


Yup, I’m talking about pencil grip.

I am horrified at the stages my children in nursery are at for many things… And I believe it is due to the way we live today, but the pencil grip, or lack of is worrying. I know we all talk about computers, consoles, tv and tablets nowadays lessening children’s physical exercise. This, to a huge extent, is responsible for a lot of overweight amd lazy children who hate to go outside.

That was a huge reason why I sided with my colleagues on not getting more technology in the nursery. After all, these children in with us for a mere 3 hours a day, and when at home, most of them are pretty adept at using their parents phones and tablets etc. In fact the one PC we do have is also considered old. It’s not touchscreen and has a, shock horror, mouse! The amount of times I have seen kids trying to touch the monitor screen to do things and getting frustrated is countless. Mouse control is erratic in most of them, but they do try.

But this brings me back to my main gripe of the day. Pencil grip and control.  Fine motor skills. The vast majority of the children I am encountering, at the age of 3-4, have no idea really, how to hold a pencil, using the fist, or cylindrical grasp, as shown in the diagram at the bottom of the post. Some are at the Digital grasp level, and very few are using the tripod, conventional grip.

Why are some kids so behind in their development of pencil grip?

Because so many young children don’t ever use pens, pencils and paper at home.  When I was growing up, I loved to colour in and ‘write’.  I was given ample resources to fuel my hunger for mark making. (This may have actually fuelled my stationery fetish, but that’s another story!)

As my own children went through their developmental early years, drawing materials were key in my resources at home. My son, being labelled a typical boy, had really awful fine motor control. His mark making and writing was awful, until he was around 8, but I always provided opportunities to him, to practice, but in fun ways.  My daughter has always loved to ‘write’ and colour in.

One of the things I would do is always keep, in my kiddy change bag, a set of colouring pencils or pens, and paper, so if we were out, and the kids needed occupying, these are the things I would whip out to shush them.  It was amazing how many new ‘friends’ they would amass, due to simple pens and paper.

As I looked around, I recall seeing that other youngsters, in the same place all had phones or portable consoles to keep them quiet. Not toys, or anything simple.  This was one thing I was adamant I would not allow with my own children until they were much older.

Now, in my job, I am seeing the impact of this electronic babysitting. Children who have no idea how to hold pencils or pens, let alone use them with any modicum of control.  Surely it is cheaper, and easier, to buy a pack of pencils and a colouring book, than have a tablet? The skills a child learns through experimenting are essential to their fine motor control.

Instead some parents fear the ‘mess’, the chance a child may draw on furniture or walls, while in possession of a pen.  Or it is just far too much effort. In my limited experience, these are the children who end finding pens, and not really knowing what they are, do draw on walls, as they have no clue what to do!

Around 4-5 out of 40 3-4 year olds in our environment are able to attempt to write their name, some can write the initial letter, many are unable to copy, or trace. Some just scribble, with no form whatsoever.

Developmental milestones are not being reached in this electronic age.  Sure, they can play games, and virtually colour in via these colouring apps, but there is no concept of using your fingers in reality to hold a pencil, at all.

We try so hard to give the children opportunities to write, colour and mark make, but in the short time they are with us, many choose not to do this, so where are we supposed to help them catch up, and become adept at controlling writing implements?

 Much as I love technology, and developments, I despair that certain important physical skills are literally dying out.

OK…  Mic turned off… thank you for listening!

(Images via Google Images)

82 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. itsgoodtobecrazysometimes
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 16:10:23

    I hated been forced to hold a pencil in the tripod grasp. I just couldn’t do it and it felt very unnatural to me. My son (3) on the other does seem to use it the right way, he loves using colouring pencils and paint brushes, on paper, his colouring books, my walls

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Steve
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 00:14:43

    I hate to say it but I very rarely use a pen these days and when I do my hand starts to hurt very quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 11, 2016 @ 07:44:23

      It’s true for a lot of us, but at least you can write, and know the skill….miss these little ones who, from an early age, know more about tap and swipe, rather than hold a pencil and scribble!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • Steve
        Jan 11, 2016 @ 07:59:46

        I guess it’s natural evolution. Could you write with a feather quill on a scroll?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jan 11, 2016 @ 08:35:59

        Well that is a technique that, as I have my developed motor skills, I could aquire relatively simply… But if the motor control isn’t there from a young age then I would suffer!

        Like

  3. Anna
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 21:31:57

    This was new information to me. Thanks for a good post. When I grew up we always had pencils and crayons and paper and we used them almost everyday. How sad that the pencil skills are about to disappear in the younger generations. I’m glad you’re trying to do something about it. I can’t imagine a life without pen and paper 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Laura
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 05:26:51

    I volunteer with 4th and 5th graders — it’s shocking how many of them use incorrect grip with their pencils. I sit with them in small groups and wonder how on earth they made it to the upper grades without a teacher correcting this…

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  5. Deb
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 03:39:00

    Wow that’s amazing and unfortunate. Not only are they not developing their motor skills they’re not developing their imaginations…deciding what colors the pictures should be etc. I am in complete agreement with you…informative post!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. aranislandgirl
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 00:52:12

    Just yesterday I observed a late 20 something bank teller holding his pen like a knife, as the 2-3 year old. Would love to show him your infograph, but no judgement, just a little surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 08, 2016 @ 07:43:08

      With older people, I has become a habit, and at least they write… But the younger ones, it just shows how they are getting NO experience, which is so sad!

      Like

      Reply

  7. Judy Martin
    Jan 07, 2016 @ 21:57:04

    This is shocking that children don’t even know how to hold a pencil. When Miss Hap was small she was always colouring, I have to say her writing took a long time to develop as it used to like like hieroglyphics! She still practised a lot though and used to like drawing and colouring at least! I don’t understand parents who are happy for their kids to start school without even knowing the basics of reading and writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  8. wafflemethis
    Jan 07, 2016 @ 16:13:56

    Here here sis. Couldn’t agree more. Also I think it stops development of imagination in children☺

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  9. patriciaruthsusan
    Jan 07, 2016 @ 15:42:59

    I used to teach first and second-grade years ago. This sounds terrible. I’m so glad I don’t have that problem. My own kids drew and colored with crayons a lot, especially my daughter. This is such a shame. Good piece, Ritu. — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 07, 2016 @ 18:34:58

      Thank you Suzanne. It is a crying shame, and the worst thing is some parents can’t see what they are doing wrong. In their minds they are giving The kids technology to help them in the future, which is true, but still, the foundation skills are needed first!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  10. Wood
    Jan 07, 2016 @ 12:03:30

    My kids draw and paint alot at home, I think the iPad is taken too much of the play time in my kids’ kindergarten. therefore we don’t have iPad at home

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 07, 2016 @ 12:52:42

      We don’t use them in the nursery exactly because of that Jazz!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • Wood
        Jan 07, 2016 @ 14:03:32

        The kindergarten we used Paris, the kids were allowed to sit all day with an iPad. I knew when i was going to pick them up that they would be sitting with one.
        and they did. and they would just say the kids needed to learn how to use it for school. Yes BUT! Kids should be kids! I went to school just fine without an iPad….
        After i moved to the U.S they use them very little, I don’t see them playing on one when i come over, they are always on trips or playing outside.
        That is how kids should learn!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jan 07, 2016 @ 18:32:27

        Absolutely Jazz, it’s the way I think too!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Rajiv
    Jan 07, 2016 @ 12:01:57

    Good gripe…. Too much digital

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  12. franhunne4u
    Jan 07, 2016 @ 07:00:58

    I can understand the concerns of some parents, that they feel their children are left behind if they are not growing up as “digital natives” to which swiping comes as a natural activity. What those parents seem to forget that everything, really EVERYTHING has to come in moderation – even moderation …

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 07, 2016 @ 07:45:20

      Absolutely. Kids need to experience everything, in balance, to become rounded human beings…. It’s becoming apparent though, that thus isn’t the case in a lot of families… Because people don’t seem to realise the implications of ‘forgetting’ the old school things!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • franhunne4u
        Jan 07, 2016 @ 08:01:31

        Well, I have commented on quite some blogs and articles dealing with the vanishing of the art of handwriting. Some commenters said the last thing they have written by hand was a telephone note or a shopping list. I really do not get that. Doesn’t everybody like a picture postcard anymore when somebody else has been on holiday or for birthdays or Christmas or whatever?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jan 07, 2016 @ 08:28:17

        We got about 4 Christmas cards in December… Post cards? What are they? It is a dying art, handwriting…
        I am so keen for my own kids to write, and they love it, and take such pride in their handwriting. In fact once in a while they write letters to their grandma, my mum, or to my brother in Finland, and the joy they get at receiving a reply is immense!

        Liked by 1 person

      • franhunne4u
        Jan 07, 2016 @ 08:47:07

        Postcrossing might be the answer – go to Postcrossing.com to see what it is about – you can register as a group or a class or as a family if you like the idea. I am sure your own kids are too young to register on their own (must be 13, as far as I know). Most people are really nice to kids on there. Not creepy – just nice. Going the extra mile to find the right postcard for their preferences or adding some colourful, kid-friendly sticker or even drawing something. I know when I wrote a postcard to a French couple of girls I wrote TWO postcards, one to each girl, so both had one of their preferences. Ok, some people seem to be less interested and are just after stamps …
        It is very lovely to see handwriting from countries that do not use our alphabet (they usually only write “Hello” or “Kind regards” in their own language and translate that, too). In China or Japan handwriting is still big. As it is in less developed parts of the world … The loss of this skill is truly a first world problem.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jan 07, 2016 @ 12:50:16

        What a wondeful idea! I shall look into it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • franhunne4u
        Jan 07, 2016 @ 13:51:41

        Yours would not be the first class to sign up to it! And another good part about it is: You do not have to send as many cards out as you are allowed to. You can limit that. Right now I am allowed to send 28, only 8 of which are travelling right now. This weekend I will have time (and new stamps) to write more. But nobody forces me to get up to my limit. At the beginning, when it is only five, that is no problem, but with the maximum being 100 Postcrossing can become a tad expensive with postcards and stamps … And not everybody is really happy with self-made cards, I am afraid.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Eliza Waters
    Jan 07, 2016 @ 00:36:12

    Scary to think of the repercussions down the road!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  14. wwwpalfitness
    Jan 07, 2016 @ 00:13:20

    Reply

  15. wwwpalfitness
    Jan 07, 2016 @ 00:11:38

    Reblogged this on wwwpalfitness.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  16. Charles Yallowitz
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 22:42:57

    I remember it took me a long time to master pencil and pen grip. For some reason, it was the modified tripod until maybe age 9 or 10. The grip simply didn’t stick. Probably should watch what my son does since his Occupational Therapist used pencil grip to help him with finger strength. Hold on. asks son to hold pen He has the modified tripod at age 6 and now I have to explain why I just gave him a pen and no paper.

    Honestly, my concern is keyboard usage since so many computers and phones are touchscreen. Same with using a mouse.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  17. pensitivity101
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 22:27:56

    I was intrigued by the way the receptionist at or previous dentist held her pen. I couldn’t grip anything like that before my arthritis in my fingers, let alone now.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. Sue Vincent
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 22:09:51

    Great post, Ritu and an important one.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  19. Sue Vincent
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 22:09:05

    Reblogged this on Daily Echo and commented:

    Ritu raises concerns about the children growing up in our digital age. When my sons were small, a paper and pen were always in the handbag. Waiting anywhere was occupied by drawing and later by playing word games, dots or hangman. Crayons, chalks and paper are the cheapest of toys… and the best of learning tools on so many levels.

    Like

    Reply

  20. TanGental
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 22:07:02

    Like Erica I rather thought the advent of technology overblown and with as many benefits as burdens but this just proves you need to maintain a balance or you utterly deskill a whole group.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  21. Viv
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 22:04:48

    I’ve seen very poor grip in young adults too; it bothers me.
    sigh

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  22. Erika Kind
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 21:57:49

    That’s actually very thought-provoking, Ritu! I had never thought that the impact is that massive. All of my kids loved to draw. I had/have tons of drawings. But my youngest son had problems with his fine motor conrol anyway. So being kept busy with playstation and iPad shows its results and you are one of the firsts to notice that.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  23. The Story Reading Ape
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 21:55:32

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:

    Ritu raises a topic we ALL need to know about – it adversely affects kids!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

Flag Counter
%d bloggers like this: