Which pencil grip for my child?

girl using tripod grip

Tripod Handwriting Grip


The tripod grip is the most common method for holding a pencil, it can lay claim to this title because it is the best way to hold a pencil (for most of us) to achieve neat handwriting.  There are always exceptions to this rule so if your child has neat handwriting and they don’t use the tripod grip – don’t change their style, there is no need. 

See the diagram which shows that 3 fingers form the tripod.  Children will try and hold their pencil in various different forms of this grip but if their writing is untidy then it is likely that the way they are holding the pencil is limiting their ability.   You could show and encourage them to start holding their paper and pencil correctly. 

Some children use the tripod grip but cross their thumb over the top of their index finger, this limits finger movement which slows the writer down and the writing is generally not as neat as children who aren’t doing this. 

Some children will find that due to their fine motor skill development they are unable to master the tripod grip quickly. These children will benefit from the help of a pencil grip which slots over the nib of the pencil. Your child will then be able to hold the pencil grip and their fingers will comfortably position themselves in the correct position ready for writing. 

The triangular pencil grip is suitable for children who have small hands and cross their thumb over the top of their index finger.  For younger children who use jumbo pencils, the jumbo triangular grip is required.  The Air grip is triangular in shape but softer because it is cushioned by air.  Good for the correct holding position and sore fingers.  More info on these grips here

Soft foam pencil grip is suitable for children who complain that their fingers hurt because they are hold the pencil too tightly.  Likewise with the ridged foam grip, except this provides more grip if the pencil is always slipping.  These 2 styles are also good for small and less able fingers. 

The claw pencil grip is new and creates the perfect tripod grip ensuring that each finger is correctly positioned and helps hold it in the correct place.  Good for weak fingers following a stroke, arthritis or brain injury, or for children who have poor fine motor skills.  These are available in small, medium and large sizes. 

The stubbi grip  is great for positioning fingers in the correct position and is again good for children with small hands.  The Solo pencil grip is similar to the stubbi but slightly larger giving more surface contact with the pencil, some children find this easier to hold than the stubbi.  

Cross Guard Ultra is designed to stop index and thumb fingers crossing over, being fairly large it also assists with pen control. 

The Ultra  and Large Ultra pencil grips are for those with a very poor or diminished grip.  Very soft and comfy to use, suitable for children (and adults who have suffered a stroke or arthritis).


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