It’s never too early to start helping your child develop good fine motor skills. I’m not saying sit down every day with your child for 15 min. and work on it. There are a few things you can do that will help promote efficient hand mobility skills within their natural environment. Now you might be wondering why this would be important. Well it has a direct effect on your child’s cutting and writing skills when they get to school. Most people do naturally develop these skills but it never hurts to have a little extra insurance.
Now I’m dating myself here but back in the days of video arcades I and many of my friends’ got plenty of practice using our “pincers”. We should have super human strength from all the quarters we plunked into Pac-Man or Centipede games and every time we did we were using our thumb and index fingers to “pinch” the quarter and slide it into the slot. So on that simple thought my first suggestion is:
- Give your child a Piggy Bank or any bank that requires you to put money in a slot. This will naturally help your little one with their “pincers”. Whenever you use a vending machine try letting your child put the money in for you. Even if they hold the money in one hand and use the other to put it in they are still working their “pincers”. Now the ability to do it with all the coins held one hand will come as they watch you use your fingers to shift the coins to between your thumb and index fingers and they see how much faster it is.
- Another way to promote their “pincers” is to let them string beads or buttons on a string, pipe cleaner, or stick. You want the bead to have a fairly big opening so they don’t have to struggle too hard to get it on the string or whatever.
- Give your child paper to rip into small pieces. Yes I know it makes a mess but be creative and have them put it in a plastic water bottle. They can use it as a quiet noise maker or have them use lots of colors and layer them making something like the layered sand in the bottle art pieces.
- Give them chances to use scissors. It is still working their “pincers” but it is adding more fingers into the movement. I’m not saying let them run around the house but if you’re putting ribbon around a gift let them cut the ribbon while you supervise. Use both your fingers to hold it so that your child will have to cut between your fingers. It gives them a guide and it makes them feel good that you trust them to cut by themselves.
Don’t be afraid to let them try it their way first then let them know it was good but if they did it this way it will be faster. Also be willing to try it their way. It shows them you believe in them and are able to be flexible. Now the most valuable thing you should get from this is that even the smallest everyday task can be learning or teaching moment. A child learns better if they can see a reason as to why they have to do something a certain way. Always give your little one praise for whatever way they do any of the above things, then when you suggest what we think is the correct way they will be more open to hearing what you are saying.