Christine A Howard

Help Your Child Mind The Handwriting P’s and Q’s

Letter reversal is a thing in our house and has been for a very long time. The most common letters for kids to reverse are B/D, P/Q and W/M. If you have a child that struggles in this area it can be very frustrating. I am happy to say that my son is doing very well with this now, but it took a lot of practice and determination to get there. Here is what you can do if your child struggles with letter reversal…

Practice Makes Perfect

I know that this probably sounds really ridiculous, because I know that you are already doing this. However, some of us need to change the way we practice just a bit. Most likely you are having your child practice for at least 30 minutes if not more. This is too much.

Your child needs to practice daily, but each session should last no more than 10 minutes. After this point, the working memory is too full, and any chance at skills entering the long term memory is lost. There is a reason why phone numbers are only 7-10 digits long. Our working memory cannot handle more than that.


The same principle applies to handwriting practice. Keep each session short, but make sure practice happens at least five times per week at the same time of day. By keeping things short, the brain does not have time to be fatigued, and your child does not have time to become bored or frustrated.

Make It Hands-on

Get creative with handwriting. Since a lot of kiddos are hands-on learners, handwriting can be very frustrating. Yes, they are using their hands to write, but its not quite the same. Instead, have them make letters out of play dough, string, or even Legos. These mediums are much more tactile, and may help your child more clearly visualize the letters. You could even have your child play a letter matching game.

handwriting with play dough

Use A Whiteboard

Personal sized whiteboards are great for practicing handwriting. There is nothing more satisfying than wiping a mistake first of all, but white boards can actually be much more useful than that. The Wet-Dry-Try method works very well for a lot of children.

With this method the parent writes the letter on the board. Then the child removes the letter by tracing over it with a cloth or eraser. After that, the child dries the area by tracing the letter with a dry cloth. Finally the child writes the letter himself. For more information, here is a page with instructions on The Wet-Dry-Try method.

Thumbs Up To Handwriting

One fun strategy involves placing letter stickers on your child’s thumbs as a reminder during handwriting practice. The P and B go on the left thumb, while the Q and D go the right thumb. Have your child place the stickers prior to practicing. Check to make sure the correct letters are on the correct thumbs before your child begins.

handwriting stickers

Seek Help When You Need It

The most important factor to keep in mind, is that some kids will need professional help. My son did, and that is perfectly okay. It is normal for your child to be reversing letters up until about age 7. After this point, it is a good idea to have your child evaluated for disabilities such as Dyslexia. A great place to begin is your pediatrician. He or she will most likely have your child seen be a developmental pediatrician or a vision therapist.

handwriting help

Please know that if your child does have a disability, it is much better to find this out early. The earlier treatments and strategies can be put into place, the better the outcomes will be.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Let’s hear what you came up with for the Letters P and Q this week. You can add your post below. And don’t forget to visit the co-hosts and other participants.

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