Your child’s fine motor skills involve them using their small muscles that control their fingers, hand and thumb. Fine motor skills help your child perform essential activities such as grasping toys, feeding themselves, writing, drawing, zipping up clothes and more. Being able to complete daily tasks and self-care helps with your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
It’s essential to begin to work with your child on building their fine motor skills as early as possible. The development of their fine motor skills will improve as they transition through childhood – it will just take some practice.
Some kids might struggle with performing activities that use these essential skills, causing them to become upset and frustrated when they can’t complete their daily tasks. For instance, a child might have a hard time holding a pair of scissors and cutting on the dotted line, causing them to become upset with the task and not perform the cutting activities at all because they think it’s too hard.
Early intervention for fine motor skills can help with this. Here are some activities that will help your child build their fine motor skills.
1. Finger Feeding
Allow your child to finger feed as often as possible. When they can pick food up using their fingers, it helps them develop their pincer grasp (first finger and thumb together), which is an important precursor to holding crayons.
2. Play with Play Dough
A great way of building hand strength is playing with play foam, play dough or a similar malleable and non-toxic substance as it encourages resistance.
3. Buttoning and Tying
Have them practice things like:
- Buttoning and unbuttoning
- Hooking fasteners
These types of activities help build dexterity and strength.
If your child is showing interest in coloring, which typically is around two and a half years old, give them some small crayons that will fit their little hand.
5. Practice with Clothes Pins
Let your child hang coloring pages, pictures or clothing on a clothesline using spring-loaded clothespins, which can help build pincer strength.
Each child develops differently and because of that, reaches milestones at different rates. But, if your child fails to develop certain skills within a reasonable time, they might be dealing with a fine motor delay. Talk with their pediatric occupational therapist about some potential therapy and some activities you can have your child engage in at home to help them build their fine motor skills.
Because all children develop differently, they reach milestones at different rates. However, those who fail to develop a skill within a reasonable time may be dealing with a fine motor delay. THe good news is that early intervention through pediatric occupational therapy can help.