Children today are struggling to hold pens and pencils because of too much exposure to technology and not enough writing by hand. A study has found that extreme use of digital devices such as smartphones and tablets, is stopping the muscles in their fingers from developing appropriately which enables them to hold a pen or pencil correctly. Experts are concerned that children are not going to school with the dexterity and strength in their hands that they need and that children had a decade ago. But while your child may always immediately turn to a keyboard instead of pen and paper, one way you can encourage them to regularly practice holding a pen and writing is with a penpal.
Fun Way to Practice Reading and Handwriting
Writing to a penpal encourages children to work on their handwriting skills in a fun and informal way. They will be able to build on their writing skills of using correct capitalization, grammar, and punctuation in their writing and encourage them to always try to write neatly and legibly, so their penpal can read their letters. It also teaches them how to develop their thoughts and then put them down on paper to share with their pen friends. By writing down their news, what they’ve been up to and asking questions of their penpal, it encourages them to think about how to express themselves and also to think about what the reader may like to hear about. Then, of course, receiving a letter back helps them to build on their reading skills and to get the experience of reading different styles of handwriting.
Broaden Your Child’s Horizons
Writing to a penpal is a great way for your children to learn more about the world and other people’s experiences. The ability to appreciate, understand and respect other cultures is an important quality and this can be developed through sharing letters. Children are also more likely to be interested in what another child tells them, rather than by reading about a country in a book or on television. While they may not get to travel all over the world if your child has a penpal from another country, they can learn all about other countries, cultures, and traditions first hand, while sharing information about their own.
Penpalling Teaches Important Life Skills
There’s no doubt that children today are growing up in a very fast-paced, digital world. Everything is quick and instant and often just at the touch of a button. Even when we have a special moment to share, we can instantly put it on social media so it’s out there for all to see immediately. However, corresponding through letters takes time; even though you can learn how to print stamps online at OnlineStamp to save a trip out, your child will still have to wait for their letter to be delivered. And while waiting can be frustrating sometimes for a child, patience is an important life skill for young people to learn and develop.
There are so many benefits for a child to have a pen pal to write to regularly. They’ll be able to develop their writing skills in a natural way, learn patience, find out about the wider world and other experiences and learn about what makes each of us different. And of course, with every letter they write, they are also building on their social skills too.