The keyboards are banishing the paper and the pen when writing and in the case of children is no exception. Even schools incorporate the use of electronic devices for their students to study. But what do our children lose when they stop writing by hand? From the outset, part of its communicative individuality, since “our personality is expressed in handwriting. Each of us has a letter with a different size, inclination, orientation and stroke. Writing requires different processes in each child, depending on their type of teaching or their own neural network in charge, among other skills, of emotional functioning and their body movement, in this case manual ”, explains Montserrat Díaz Rosell, PhD in Translational Neuropsychologist Medicine of the San Lorenzo Integral Center. This Saturday, January 23, World Handwriting Day is celebrated, dedicated especially to calligraphy and its role in learning.
When a child writes by hand, various skills are trained and activated. “Writing is essential for the development of children’s brain areas, which otherwise cannot be stimulated, such as cognitive ones, since the process of choosing a certain type of letter and developing the appropriate movement with the hand is put into operation to write. The memory area is also activated, because it is necessary to remember how words are written. In addition, to write by hand, it is necessary to have the ability to detect errors; check; modify content and expressions, as well as initial planning and organization of structured ideas, ”adds Díaz.
A child who writes with a pen or pencil on a piece of paper “develops hand-eye coordination, the ability to regulate the light source in a natural way and not determined by a screen is developed, creativity and the ability of expression are stimulated. of the emotional world through the use of lines, colors, shapes and different pressures with the pencil on the paper. In this way, children disconnect a time from the use of the screens that cause them overstimulation and they learn that they don’t always depend on electricity to carry out activities, “concludes neuropsychologist Montse Díaz.
The magic of handwriting that helps children to read
Learning to write by hand facilitates learning, the acquisition of reading and stimulates memory, because its practice “requires a good control with respect to fine motor skills; picking up a paper and a pencil activates motor aspects that do not occur when we type, since it implies keeping our hand in a certain position and measuring the force we exert on the paper to trace the letters. Handwriting and drawing cause much more activity in sensory and motor areas of the brain than typing on a computer. Specifically, lower frontal areas are stimulated, especially Broca’s area, which is essential for language processing. Writing by hand activates areas of the brain that are also involved in memory and makes it easier to encode new information. For this reason, the more they are used, the better the conditions for children’s learning, ”says Erika Jiménez, a neuropediatrician at the Rey Juan Carlos Móstoles Hospital in Madrid.
Handwriting can be combined with the use of keyboards, “since with technological devices the position of each letter is learned, which also favors brain connections. However, everything has its time. It is advisable that young children learn to write by hand to facilitate the learning of reading or the development of psychomotor skills and, already in the last years of primary school, learning the keyboard could be introduced blindly ”, adds the neuropediatrician.
Encourage our children to enjoy handwriting
From home, children can be encouraged to enjoy pencil and paper with ideas such as:
- Pose handwriting or drawing as a game. Children learn by playing and from around three years of age they can begin to doodle with pencil and paper to train their ability to imitate lines with creative drawings and shapes.
- Take advantage of children’s ability to imitate. If our children see that, in addition to keyboards, we take a pen and paper, they will want to participate with us in the activity.
- Create a routine that includes writing or drawing. If we create the habit of spending time with our children every day to use paper and pencil, it will be easier for them to internalize the habit of writing by hand or drawing.
- Use attractive materials so that children Use paper, pencil, or paint, such as mandalas, blackboards, or sketchbooks, which also encourage your creativity.