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Writing a child’s name is considered a major developmental achievement in their early childhood years.
Children as young as 18 months are interested in process art, which looks more like scribbles. As children turn 2 or 3 years old, they usually start showing interest in recognizing patterns , letters etc around them.
Writing a name usually happens in the following 3 steps
Recognition – Children visually recognize the pattern of letters that make their name. At this point they may or may not know the names or sequence of letters. They may be able to identify the common letters between their names and parents/sibling/friends name.
Spelling – Children are able to just say out the names of the letters that make up their name.
Writing – Children practice writing the letters that make up their name. At first, it may be the correct letters in some order and form on the writing surface, then they will refine it to be on one line in the correct sequence.
How to help a child write their name
Engage the child in several pre-writing activities, that help strengthen finger muscles.
Some examples of such activities are: Scissors, play dough, Exercises of practical life , drawing in a sketch pad, painting, using different writing tools like pencils, chalk, crayons, markers etc.
Read books to help child get a good visual understanding of the letter patterns.
Practice writing activities in coarse materials like sand, salt, rice or corn flour to give the sensorial explorations to the fingers.
Spell out the letters to the child so they can hear the sound and sequence of the letters. When children start writing their name, the letters may or may not be on the same line, they may be backwards, some may be uppercase while some are lowercase.
Don’t correct all of that while the child is processing the details of writing their name. Let them refine the step of getting all the correct letters in first, then let them get the sequence right and then we can discuss the details about name starts with uppercase and then the rest should be in lowercase and then finally work on getting all of them in the same line using the lined paper to guide them.
Make it fun, make it like art, come up with different ways to encourage them to write.
If they are making a birthday card for a friend or parent, let them sign their name. Let them draw on the sidewalk with the chalk, let them use different writing tools to practice.
Every child learns to write their name sooner or later, we can surely make it fun and engaging for them while they work on this major developmental milestone of their early life.
Check montessorireflections_geetha on Instagram for pictures and ideas to make name writing exciting for the child.