You can support your toddler’s writing development by having materials available. Keeping materials for writing and drawing handy will encourage your toddler to draw and “write.” Children take pride in their work and like to have their attempts acknowledged by parents or caregivers
Drawing is a complex task, but it helps toddlers become writers. Drawing involves grasping a crayon or marker, holding the paper so it doesn’t move, and applying just the right amount of pressure with the marker–all at the same time. As toddlers develop and practice these skills, they become better writers and drawers.
Toddlers develop the control in their hands needed in order to use writing tools. By 18 months, many children are able to hold a marker and scribble on paper. Some toddlers are able to make a few letters such as “X” or “O” by the time they are 3 years old. At first, they may make these letters purely by accident, though.
Older toddlers like to use “writing” in their play. Using chalk, crayons, markers, and pencils, toddlers mimic how they have seen adults use writing in their lives. For example, your toddler might pretend to be a police officer “writing” traffic tickets or a mommy stuffiing her purse with notes on the way to the grocery store.
Older toddlers become aware that written symbols, such as letters or pictures, represent real objects. This awareness lays the foundation for them to become not only writers, but readers as well. In order to read and write, your toddler must first understand that letters stand for sounds and that groups of letters together stand for words.
Encouraging Your Toddler