Child with road chalk

Why should we encourage scribbling?

How do we understand if a child is ready to write? 

The early signs of writing interest for children are scribbling and drawing.

An adult may not understand scribbles. They appear to be a jumble of lines, loops, and squiggles. However, these marks are extremely important to a young child. They are a child’s way of expressing themselves.

The first stage of this developmental process is random scribbling. It starts around one and a half years old and lasts until the child is between two and two and a half years old. These initial marks represent children’s first attempts to communicate through literacy and are a significant milestone in their lives.

Current studies examine scribbling in all of its phases and discover a clear intention behind the gestures of young children. In the development process, they will learn new meaningful gestures that assist them in understanding and interacting with the world around them. One of these gestures is scribbling..

As children grow older, they progress to a controlled scribbling stage. This period lasts about a year, and the children now appear to have visual control over where they place marks on the page. In just a few months, the child has mastered the art of manipulating his crayon and placing marks wherever he wants on the page. The children are now connecting the visual marks they are making to their physical movements.

Encourage Children to Scribbling

Children begin scribbling on the floor or the walls. That is when parents can assign them a specific location and provide them with a pen, pencil, crayons, and paper to draw on. So, while drawing, the child develops fine motor skills and learns how to grip the chalk or pencil so that they can hold on to it firmly and begin writing slowly.

This scribbling stage of a child’s development is divided into five stages: random scribbling, controlled scribbling, naming of scribbling, early representational attempts, and the representational stage of scribbling. Each of these stages is important in a child’s physical, creative, and literary development – scribbling is an important part of a child’s life.

These are ways to encourage children to scribbling :

  1. Set out paper, pencils, crayons, and markers for children to scribble or draw with whenever they want.
  2. Give them office paper that’s printed on one side. The kids will love scribbling and drawing on the back side of the paper, and it’s completely free!
  3. Put their coloring books away. Allow children to be creative and use their own ideas when creating their own pictures. It makes no difference if adults are unable to identify what the child is drawing. What matters is that the child is aware.
  4. Encourage children to use their scribbling abilities while playing. When they are playing with cars and trucks or pretending to run a store, they may enjoy making signs.

Phases in Scribbling

As a result, in addition to the semantical gestures of Yes and No described by Spitz (1957), we see the emergence of a second dyad of gestures: caressing and hitting. Children caress what they want and hit what they don’t. We discover the cause of the line’s creation in these new gestures.

The child does not come across the line by chance. Adults have a tendency to attribute to children their own ways of thinking and, as a result, believe they share the same joy of discovery; however, what excites children is not discovery in and of itself, but discovering they are capable of doing things.

When a child has progressed from acting like adults to doing what adults do while striving for better oculomotor control, he or she develops an interest in his or her artistic creations. We can then start to notice a trace that looks like writing, accompanied by the child’s declaration that he or she has “written.” Learning is never haphazard, but it always takes place within the context of a meaningful relationship.

Scribble is much more than marks on a page for toddlers; it is a visual way of communicating, an opportunity to interact meaningfully with adults in their lives, and an opportunity to develop their coordination, creative, and literacy skills. Scribble is a fantastic accomplishment, a milestone, and a new adventure for all toddlers; embrace and enjoy it!

The adult’s role in this process is critical: graphical abilities can only flourish and develop fully if the child has a meaningful relationship with his or her caregiver.

Share with us, when did your child start scribbling and do you as an adult still scribble?

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