How to improve your child’s untidy handwriting

Illegible and untidy handwriting is common in children with ADHD. The good news, is that there are many ways to tackle untidy handwriting and to improve a learner’s fine motor skills. Even though they know what to write, they struggle with writing it down neatly. You will often hear from a teacher, “Sarah’s writing is all over the place. I just can’t read her answers.” Children with ADHD can learn to write neatly. They need to practice their fine motor skills in order to achieve motor fluency required for neat handwriting. Moreover, writing down their thoughts can be demanding and requires practice to achieve proficiency. A child with ADHD tends to rush, which will contribute to untidy handwriting. Let’s look at some factors that can help your child improve their handwriting.

5 factors to improve untidy handwriting

Get a good grip

You can find many pens or pencils with rubber grips at any online stationery store. Use the grip and teach your child where and how to hold their pencil. The rubber grip positions your child’s fingers at the right spot and keeps them there while they write.


Muscle memory

Repetition is key. Have your child practice writing the same thing a number of times. This will help them remember the strokes. To strengthen your child’s fingers have them use a spray bottle and clean windows. This will also strengthen their wrist. Small wrist movements is essential for neat handwriting. You can help your child by placing a book under their arm to practice using their wrist instead of their shoulder when forming the letters.

Teach your child to hold the pen closer to the edge so that they have the correct posture on the page. However, they should hold the pen firmly, or else holding it loosely will not get correct writing formations. Help them understand the importance of a steady wrist. Although the wrist should be slightly elevated, it should not be pointing in an upward direction.

You can add a wrist guard to keep the wrist down on the table or get an elevated writing board which will help your child strengthen their wrist and will also encourage the correct wrist elevation for neat handwriting. Let your child know, that they can use their dominant hand to write and the other hand to support.

Line spacing

Some children can’t distinguish the lines, slowing down their writing speed. You can introduce your child to ruled lines and show them where the lines begin and end. Practicing at home, will make it more familiar for them when they have to write in between the lines in class. They may face spacing issues too. In this case, you can teach them to use a finger space between the words for correct spacing. Remember, their letters don’t have to be artistic but legible.

untidy writing

Body posture

In order for your ADHD child to learn self-management and independence when it comes to handwriting make them aware of their body posture before they begin a worksheet. Make sure they sit up straight, feet flat on the ground, elbows above the table. Because right posture helps in rectifying shabby writing. Therefore, keep reminding them to correct their posture. Through practice, they will get used to the correct body posture which will help them improve their writing in the long run.

Key takeaways

Due to illegible handwriting, your child may encounter difficulties in the classroom frequently, especially in the early years of schooling. If these difficulties prevail, then it won’t take long for them to get discouraged. Therefore, follow the aforementioned steps and support your child improve their handwriting skills to ensure their success in the classroom.