Thanks to the invention and ensuing popularity of technology such as computers, smartphones, and tablets, it seems that handwriting has fallen by the wayside. However, the truth is that good handwriting is actually a very important developmental skill, and believe it or not, your handwriting reveals a lot about you and your personality (more on that later).
In this article, you will learn what your handwriting says about you. After that, you will find seven tips that you can use to improve your handwriting, no matter how bad you think you are. After that, you’ll find some tips on how to improve your child’s handwriting before the bad habits develop, because they truly are hard to break.
What does your handwriting say about you?
The study of handwriting has been done for many years and is referred to as graphology. There have been many professional forensic graphologists who have worked with court cases, using handwriting to link suspects to particular crimes.
Legally, in the case of signatures, handwriting is critical to prove whether they are real or forged, and can make or break a case. In addition, a graphologist can work to determine whether an autograph is real or fake.
There are some analysts who study samples of writing to determine an individual’s personality type, and some businesses will do this before they hire a new employee. In some cases, it can be used to determine whether or not a couple is compatible.
According to expert graphologists, there is very little that you can’t learn about a person from their handwriting. From personality traits, such as dominance or aggression, to physiological conditions such as schizophrenia and high blood pressure, if you are able to write by hand, a graphologist will be able to analyze you.
Every little thing, from the size of your letters to the spaces between the words, can reveal very intricate details of your personality. The following are some of the features that are often used to study handwriting to reveal more about your personality.
Overall, the size of your letters indicates whether you are an outgoing person or if you are very shy. When compared to a standard lined sheet of paper, if you write very tiny letters that don’t reach the top line, chances are you are very introverted and timid.
On the other hand, if you write with very large letters that go past the top line, you are the exact opposite, very attention seeking, confident, and outgoing.
In addition to the size of your letters, the spacing of the words says a lot about you. If your words are widely spaced out, you like your independence and freedom. On the other hand, if your words are close together, you prefer to be among others, and don’t enjoy being alone.
Dotting your I’s
The way you dot—or don’t dot—your “i” says a lot about your personality. Those who place the dot very high are very imaginative. On the other hand, those who place the dot a little to the left are typically procrastinators.
If you draw a circle instead of simply making a dot, you are child-like, and if you make a dash, you are overly critical. Only the very organized and emphatic people will dot their “i” firmly above when writing by hand.
Crossing your T’s
The way you cross your “T” also reveals a portion of your personality. If the cross is long, you are typically much more enthusiastic and determined. On the other hand, if your cross is short, you are typically lazier.
If you apply light pressure when you are writing, this implies that you are sensitive and empathetic. On the other hand, if you apply heavy pressure, you are very committed, and extreme pressure indicates that you are uptight.
Your signature reveals whether you are confident (a readable signature), or private/closed (an illegible signature).
If you notice that any of these are true about you, and you’d like to change that, or perhaps you don’t think they’re true and would like to be able to change the way you write, consider implementing the following tips. After these, you will find some tips on how to help your child improve their own handwriting before it’s too late and bad habits are ingrained.
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7 tips for adults to improve their handwriting
The following are seven ways that adults and older teens can re-teach themselves how to write neatly.
Invest in the right materials
Before you start working to improve your handwriting, you need to invest in some good materials to help you practice. You want something that is comfortable for you to hold. There are some that believe a pen is better, but this is not true for everyone. You want something that works for you that will allow you to write smoothly without having to push it into the paper.
Once you have determined which is best for you, start doing some experimentation with various size thicknesses, nibs, and colors. Those who are left-hand dominant may wish to check into writing utensils that are specifically designed for them. These are hooked so that you can see what you are writing, and the pens are fast drying so that you can avoid smudging.
In addition to a good writing utensil, you may want to consider getting a notebook of grid paper so that you can better practice making all of your letters a uniform size. Plus, having all of your work in a notebook will allow you to see how you are progressing.
Finally, you may want to consider investing in a lightbox for special correspondence or holiday cards. This way, you can place a sheet of grid paper underneath what you are writing on, and you have lines to keep everything nice and neat.
Be sure to stretch first
Before you sit down to write, whether you are practicing or writing something important, make sure that you take the time to stretch. You need to roll your wrists and flex your hands so that they’re loosened up a bit. This is something that is critical, especially if you haven’t written in a few days—after all, they get tight just like any other muscle does.
When you first start regularly writing, you are going to find that you are using muscles that you never expected to be in your wrist, shoulder, and forearm. So, take the time to stretch them out- it will be well worth it.
Develop and practice good posture
Learn how to sit up straight, and use your non-dominant hand to balance yourself and to have more control of your writing. It should become so natural that you don’t even think about it. If you’re right-handed, use your left hand to steady yourself, or vice-versa.
In addition, when you are practicing, you need to be sitting at a table with a hard-backed chair. Never sit on a couch or recliner. You need the proper posture and plenty of room when you’re re-training yourself to write.
Pay attention to your grip
Pick up your writing utensil of choice and pay attention to how you are holding it. You should have it resting between your middle finger, index finger, and thumb. It should lightly rest on the knuckle of your ring finger, according to experts.
Try holding it closer to the tip, but don’t hold it too tightly. You need to be sure that your grip is supportive, but does not have any tension. Never squeeze your writing utensil because this will cause hand cramps.
However, note that if this isn’t a comfortable position for you, don’t freak out. The truth is that there really is no perfect way to hold a writing utensil. According to experts, it really depends upon the person. After all, when you’ve been writing for many years, it can be hard to correct habits that have developed.
When they are writing, most people typically use their fingers, meaning they “draw” their letters. However, professionals and calligraphy artists don’t use their fingers. Your arm and wrist need to be in the same position for each and every motion and letter you make. You shouldn’t wiggle your arm and wrist around, but maintain control at all times.
In order to practice this, try holding your writing utensil and write large letters in the air. The muscles that you use are the ones that you will use to write on the paper. Pretend you are writing on a chalkboard. You must use your arm and wrist to do this because if you were using your fingers, the letters would be too small to be seen across the room.
Plus, when you write this way, there is more fluidity to your writing. You need to be pulling your writing instrument instead of pushing it up and down your paper. An individual who is using their finger to write is constantly picking up their hand to move it across the page. On the other hand, a calligraphy artist allows the letters to flow freely.
Once you have adjusted to this way of writing, your fingers will do very little moving, which means that your forearm is guiding your pen and your shoulder is pushing into the paper for a more streamlined style of writing.
Stop rushing yourself
One of the major problems with adults and handwriting is that they tend to be in such a hurry and get it done as quickly as they can. However, you must keep in mind that it’s not a race—you don’t want to see how quickly you can write, but how nice and neat you can make it.
Slow yourself down and focus on making sure each letter looks as good as you can make it. This is especially true when you are just practicing, which brings us to the final tip for adults:
Get in plenty of practice
Don’t just start writing words. Start out by writing some rows of lines/loops. Make sure that you focus on making sure they are evenly spaced and all the same size. Then, as you get better at this and gain more control, you can start writing the alphabet. After this, make groups of letters such as: az, ab, etc.
Be sure that you are making your letters larger than you typically would to get used to your arm and wrist doing the work. Once this movement begins to feel natural to you, gradually start decreasing the size of your letters to your normal style of writing.
The whole point is to practice. While this may seem silly and simple—it really is true. Once you have gotten good at writing letter combinations, try this sentence:
“The quick brown foxes jump over the lazy dogs.”
This is a phrase that contains all of the letters of the alphabet, which means that you have plenty of chances to make each letter as perfect as you can, and allows you to practice connecting letters. Get as much practice as you can and eventually, you’ll begin to see some major improvement in your handwriting.
In addition to these tips, you may want to consider doing an online course such as Master Handwriting.
Next, let’s talk about how to improve the handwriting of children before the habits become so ingrained in them that they’re hard to break.
5 tips for improving children’s handwriting skills
Teaching children proper handwriting skills is critical, even though it is often very challenging and complex. After all, you don’t want them to end up developing bad habits that are going to be hard to break as an adult, and potentially lead to problems for them down the road.
The best way to start teaching is to start them young. The following are five tips that you can use, whether you are a teacher or a parent, to help a child improve (and develop) their handwriting skills.
If you have a child that is struggling, you want to help them practice by using hands-on activities. Anything that involves the use of their hands and/or fingers is one of the best ways to practice.
One of the most common, and fun, activities that parents and teachers use to help children improve their muscles is finger painting. This can be used to teach them the basics of handwriting even before they start writing letters or words.
The wonderful thing about finger painting is that it can be used for a child of any age who needs a little bit of help with their handwriting. Sure, it can get quite messy, but research has proven that it’s one of the greatest ways you can help your child develop and improve skills needed for good handwriting.
Writing in the air
“Air handwriting” is a very simple way to practice both numbers and letters. Have your children/students practice this by repeating your movements. Start by “drawing” the letter “A” in the air and having them mimic this. Go through the whole alphabet this way.
You can also write names, words, and even numbers. Plus, this is something that can be done anywhere and at any time. This is one that you can take with you no matter where you are.
While they are made for the little tykes, the truth is that the large pencils can be quite difficult for them to grasp. Instead, find a smaller writing utensil to help them learn how to write properly. Using the right size writing utensil will help them figure out the best/right way to hold it and learn to write properly.
In addition, you may wish to try a handwriting aid, which is anything that will help them learn how to properly grasp the writing utensil. There are a variety of aids that you can use to help your child with their handwriting skills. This includes pencil grips and such.
Know what they need
Your child’s handwriting skills are never going to improve unless you’re exactly sure what they are having difficulty with. The following are a few questions to keep in mind when you’re trying to teach a child to write properly.
- Are they holding the pencil the proper way—in a tripod grip?
- Are they able to hold the paper down with one hand while writing with their other?
- Are they able to write each of the letters in the alphabet?
- Do they have an understanding of letter sizing, and how it works?
- Are they properly spacing their wording? Words should always be a finger-width apart. They can learn this by placing their finger after each word, or if they are older, using a ruler to make sure they are properly spaced
- Are they sitting in the proper position? Their feet should be flat on the ground. They should be sitting up straight. Their elbow should be at a 90°angle
Have reasonable expectations
When it comes to improving a child’s handwriting, you must understand where they are developmentally. For example, a 5 year old is just learning how to write; therefore, their spacing and letter proportions are going to be just a little off.
On the other hand, if you are working with a child who is younger than the age of 5, you need to concentrate on their pre-writing skills. They need to be doing things that strengthen their arms and shoulders and develop their hand-eye coordination.