How To Help A Child Struggling With Writing

How To Help A Child Struggling With Writing

Having a child that is struggling with writing can be incredibly difficult on a parent.

It’s never easy to watch a child struggle in any activity, especially if that activity impacts the child’s ability to perform in school. Today we are going to help you identify the reasons your child might be struggling with writing so you can get the help you need.

While the information contained below can help guide your decisions, it’s always recommended to consult with a pediatrician, teacher, counselor and/or a specialist if you suspect your child is struggling with their writing.

Ready? Let's dive in ... 

Reasons Child Might Be Struggling With Writing

The first step to helping a child who is struggling with writing is to understand the underlying causes. Understanding the "why" will allow parents or caregivers to provide the most effective support and accommodations to help the child get on the right track. 

The list below is not exhaustive, but here are the main underlying reasons your child might be struggling with their writing:

  1. Difficulty with fine motor skills: Children who have difficulty with fine motor skills may have trouble holding a pencil or writing for long periods of time.
  2. Trouble with language and vocabulary: Children who have difficulty with language and vocabulary may have trouble expressing themselves in writing.
  3. Organization and planning difficulties: Children who have difficulty organizing their thoughts and planning their writing may struggle with writing tasks.
  4. Poor attention and focus: Children who have difficulty with attention and focus may have trouble staying on task while writing.
  5. Lack of confidence and motivation: Children who lack confidence in their writing abilities may be less motivated to write.
  6. Learning disabilities: Some children may have specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia or dysgraphia which makes it difficult for them to write.
  7. Limited exposure to reading and writing: Children who have limited exposure to reading and writing may not have the necessary skills and knowledge to write well.
  8. Poor teaching methods or lack of support: Children may struggle with writing if they are not taught with appropriate methods or if they do not receive enough support and guidance. 

Do you identify any of the underlying causes of writing troubles in your child?

Consulting with educational professionals such as teachers, occupational therapists, counselors, and psychologists will be essential to accurately identify the reasons your particular child might be struggling.

How To Diagnose Child Struggling With Writing

Although it can be difficult to identify, there is a difference between a child who simply has poor handwriting (like many children do) and a child who is truly struggling with writing.

The lines can often be blurred, and it’s the reason why so many parents and caregivers may not be able to identify underlying issues earlier.

Diagnosing a child who is struggling with writing can should involve a trained professional such as a teacher, counselor or occupational therapist with expert knowledge on the top.

In most cases, a professional will diagnose writing troubles by taking the following steps:   

Observe the Child's Writing

This can involve looking at their writing samples, noting any difficulties they may have with things like spelling, grammar, or sentence structure.

Assess the Child's Fine Motor Skills

The child's ability to hold and control a pencil or pen, as well as their dexterity and coordination, can be assessed through fine motor skill tests 

Asses the Child's Language and Vocabulary Skills

This can be done through language assessments, which can help to identify any difficulties the child may have with language and vocabulary.

Assess the Child's Organizational and Planning Skills

This can be done through tests or tasks that assess the child's ability to organize their thoughts and plan their writing. 

Assess the Child's Attention and Focus 

This can be done through observation or tests that assess the child's ability to focus and sustain attention.

Assess for Learning Disabilities 

Specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia or dysgraphia can be assessed through specialized tests and assessments.

Consult with Professionals

A team of educational professionals such as teachers, counselors, and psychologists can help in the assessment process and provide a comprehensive understanding of the child's difficulties.

It's important to note that a child may have difficulty with writing for many reasons, and that a multidisciplinary assessment approach should be used to identify the underlying causes of the child's difficulty with writing.

Why It’s Important To Help A Child Struggling With Writing 

We can’t stress this enough … it is so important to help your child if he/she is struggling with writing. Even in a world that has gone digital, writing remains an essential task for self-expression, discovery, and communication.

Writing is a fundamental skill that is essential for success in school and in many aspects of life. Being able to write well can help a child to express themselves clearly and effectively, which is important for their academic and personal development.

Importantly, writing is closely linked to academic success: writing is an essential component of many academic subjects, such as English, history, and science.

Children who struggle with writing may have difficulty keeping up in class and may struggle to achieve their academic potential.

Being able to write well will not only help with schoolwork, but help boost a child's self-esteem and confidence as they feel more capable and competent.

Another aspect not to forget is that writing is a form of self-expression that allows children to explore their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. It can be a powerful tool for emotional growth and self-discovery.

Writing is a skill that will stay with your children thoughout their lives.

Think of the “I love you” notes you’ve written. The thank you cards. The journals. All that could not have been possible without a strong command of writing.  

How to Help a Child Struggling With Writing

Now that we know the reasons that a child might struggle with writing and understand the signs, let’s turn our attention to how you can help your child is struggling with writing.

The list below are general ideas and overview, but we will share below a more specific solution that can help your child with their writing immediately.

Here are some ways you can help a child struggling with writing:

  1. Break writing tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks. This can make the task less overwhelming and help the child focus on one aspect of writing at a time. This could mean focusing on just one word, or even one letter, at a time.
  2. Encourage the child to write about topics that interest them. Sports. Animals. A trip to the beach. This can help them to become more engaged and motivated to write.
  3. Praise the child for their efforts and progress, rather than focusing on mistakes or shortcomings. This can help them to develop a positive attitude towards writing.
  4. Provide extra support and guidance, such as working with a tutor, occupational therapist, or writing program if necessary. Let the child know it is okay to accept extra help and attention.
  5. Make writing fun and interactive. You can use games or writing prompts to generate ideas and make the process more enjoyable. You can find handwriting games and resources here
  6. Provide a quiet and comfortable place for the child to write and free from distractions.
  7. Finally, be patient and encouraging, writing takes time and practice. If you get frustrated, raise your voice, or push your child too far there is a chance they may shut down and it will be very difficult to help them improve.

Why An Online Writing Course Can Help

The great news is that there are supplemental courses that are available to help your child with their handwriting.

A handwriting course that is taught by a professional, like the one by OT With Me, is a fun and interactive way to help your child out with their handwriting journey.

What are some great reasons to take a course like OT With Me?

  • Convenience and flexibility: Online courses can be accessed from anywhere and at any time, making it easy for children and families to fit them into their schedules. They also provide the flexibility of working at the child's own pace, which can be especially beneficial for children who are struggling with writing.
  • Engaging and interactive: Online courses often include engaging and interactive activities, such as videos, games, and interactive exercises, which can make writing more fun and enjoyable for children.
  • Access to resources: Online courses often provide access to a variety of resources such as writing prompts, grammar exercises, and vocabulary lists which can help children to improve their writing skills.
  • Cost-effective: Online courses can often be more cost-effective than in-person classes or tutoring, making them more accessible to families.
  • Progress tracking: Online courses often provide the feature of progress tracking, which allows parents and teachers to monitor the child's progress and adjust instruction accordingly.

It’s important to choose a reputable online course like OT With Me that is specifically designed for children and are aligned with your child’s individual needs.

Remember - every child is different and will have different needs, so it may take some trial and error to find the right course or resource that works best for your child.


We know it's not easy to watch a child struggle with their writing - but help is just around the corner. 

If you take home any lesson today it should be this: don't despair. Recognition and early intervention is critical to helping your child get on the right track with their writing. 

Professional resources are available to help your child with their handwriting and amazing online courses like OT With Me can help make handwriting fun and interactive for children to practice and improve upon their handwriting skills. 

Any questions or comments on this article? Please share below!