When Should My Child Be Able to Hold a Pencil?

Updated: Feb 18, 2019

We all know how important it is to be able to write & learning how to write can be extra challenging if you haven’t developed the correct muscles to grip your writing utensil correctly. To help you track your child’s developmental progress, I’ve gathered the different stages of grasp development for ages 1 to 4 1/2 years old.

Ages 1 to 1 1/2 years old

Your child will hold crayons, markers, or brushes with their fist. The wrist is usually slightly bent forward with the thumb tilted up. To color, paint, etc. your child’s arm will move as one, with the movement coming from the shoulder.

Ages 2 to 3 years old

Your child typically holds their pencil with their fingers. Their wrist is straight with the thumb pointed down. Movement now will come from their elbow.

Ages 3 1/2 to 4 years old

Your child should hold their pencil with their thumb and three fingers with their wrist straight. Movement is no longer coming from their elbow, but now coming from their fingers.

Age 4 1/2

By this age, your child should be able to hold their pencil with their thumb and two fingers, with their wrist slightly bent back. Movement continues to come from their fingers.

If you feel your child is falling behind in any of these stages don’t worry, we can help them catch up. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us or to their teacher-they might have a few suggestions too.

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photography by Lydia Chang