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Why handwriting fails without proper Core Strength and Hand Strength |

Why handwriting fails without proper Core Strength and Hand Strength

This article discusses how your child needs both core strength and hand strength for better handwriting skills. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.

For a child to have good handwriting development, most of us are well aware hand strength is key. We use our hands and fingers to hold our pencil and write letters and words across the page.

But, did you also know that without core strength, kids could show signs of weak handwriting and letter formation?

We often think of the hands doing most of the work when it comes to writing letters and numbers. However, a child’s core strength is equally as important to developing a child’s handwriting skills and pencil grip.


If a child doesn’t have good control of their core, they often slouch, have bad posture or can barely lift their torso to hold their body up. This is especially important when kids need to copy notes from the chalkboard and when they need to stabilize their body to write.

Kids with strong core muscle are able to support the other areas of the body needed for handwriting. Each part of the body builds on the other as a combined effort to sharpen a child’s handwriting skills and pencil grip. When it comes to handwriting, both a strong core and strong hands are needed to support the dynamics of letter formation, spacing, pencil grip and holding a pencil for long periods of time.


The core stabilizes the head, neck and shoulders.

The shoulders support the arms, elbows and wrists.

The wrists steady and guide the hands and fingers.

Signs of a Weak Core and Weak Hand Strength

There are many ways a child’s core strength impacts handwriting in the classroom. Something as simple as…

  • Poor posture;
  • A weak back and stomach;
  • Fragile arms; and
  • Frail hands and fingers

…can all relate back to how your child gets information down on paper. Messy and illegible handwriting may be the first signs of a child who also has a weak core and hand strength.

But, when we look at the whole picture, weak hand strength and weak core strength may impact even more areas of the child’s handwriting progression.

If a child struggles with poor core strength and hand strength, you may notice:

  • Poor Posture
  • Slumping in the chair
  • Fidgeting
  • Difficulty copying notes from the chalkboard to their paper
  • Writing too hard or too soft
  • Trouble writing letters and numbers with their hands and fingers
  • Arms getting easily tired
  • Leaning on one hand while the child writes
  • Difficulty tying shoes and putting on socks

Each part of the body works together to write letters correctly, hold a pencil, grasp a pencil, write words across the page and write without getting tired too quickly.

Ways to Improve Hand and Core Strength

There are many ways to help your child and students improve their core strength and hand strength for better learning in the classroom.

Pick a few activities or exercises that target each area while still making it fun and playful for kids. Children are more likely to engage in exercises that provide a playful element.

Here are a few helpful ideas to build the foundation of each area:

(1) Rewiring the Brain Bundle: This bundle is great for helping kids develop better handwriting skills and hand strength for letter formation and pencil grip. The activities in these handbooks build on each other from a beginning to more advanced level. Kids can use these activities to “rewire the brain” for muscle memory, impulse control and emotional grounding. 

(2) Prone and Supine Exercises: Fun activities that get kids in the prone and supine positions will help build the core for greater strength and stability. You can use all kinds of fun tools like therapy balls, mats, swings and scooters to get kids excited about building their core.

(3) Building the Core Exercises: Here are some exercises that you might already be familiar with at the gym. These are easy exercises you can do at home or with little to no equipment.

(4) Play-Doh Activities: Using Play-Doh is a great way to build a child’s hand strength. It requires a lot of strengthen in the hands, fingers and wrists.

(5) Fine Motor Activities for Hand Strength: There are many fine motor activities that also require a lot of hand strength. Use some of these activities to get your child building the muscles in their hands.

Rewiring the Brain Mini-Course

If you have an overly emotional child, they may be “stuck” on the emotional side of the brain. For tips, resources and tools to help kids who have trouble with emotional grounding, register for the FREE Rewiring the Brain Mini-Course. This course is entirely email-based. Sign-up to get all the lessons in your email box to print, share, read and re-read as many times as you like. Complete the form to register for the course below. 

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Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs

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