Big things often have small beginnings: Fine motor skills

“Small things lead to big changes”! Allen Hershkowitz

Many of your child’s daily activities—like getting dressed, eating, and writing, washing, holding, picking —require control of small muscles in the hands. We call these skills fine motor skills.!

When thinking about Fine motor skills, these are the skills that involve a pure use of the small muscles of the body which control the hand, fingers, and thumb.that means all the refined precise movements performed majorly finger thumb and hand muscles. Fine Motor Skills are the skills used when you move your hand to do multiple tasks.

Fine motor skill efficiency significantly influences the quality of the task outcome as well as the speed of task performance.

“Fine motor skills have an impact later on maths, science and reading achievements “!

Fine motor skills are integral to a child’s development as they play a crucial role in the child’s ability to perform everyday self-care and school activities like writing, feeding oneself, buttoning, and zippering, opening lunch box, holding a spoon, writing and utilizing scissors. If these skills are inadequately developed, it may impact the child overall development, self-esteem, and dependency level as their ability to complete basic life skills is compromised. Like any muscle, these small muscles in the hand need to be built up to develop strength and dexterity

These abilities gradually develop through experience and exposure to a variety of toys, materials, and even foods. We, as parents or caregivers, can help this process by encouraging children to play, explore, and interact with a variety of items. 0-5 age period is the crucial developmental stage where these skills are acquired. How your child develops in this period will play a key role in how they progress through the rest of their life!

Fine motor skills are crucial!

“Its like tea without tea leaves ”! As tea is incomplete without tea leaves, similarly fine motor skills serve as the key role in the development of the child no motor how many milestones have child achieved but if he lags behind in any of the milestones its needs to intervene first and carefully examined.

Difficulties can often be noticed when a child avoids participating in certain activities at home or preschool. At times difficulties are not recognized until the higher demands of fine motor skills at school required for tasks such as handwriting and cutting.

Children who have developmental disabilities and physical disabilities may have greater difficulties with fine motor performance and activities due to the quality of their movements and control. Difficulties with fine motor skills often aren’t identified until preschool when teachers see that kids are struggling. There are things schools can do to help, however.

How can you tell if a child has fine motor skill difficulties!

  • Avoidance and/or disinterest of fiddly finger skills (and has tasks listed above)
  • Preferring physical activity (again to avoid sit down tasks)
  • Interest in ‘passive’ activities such as IT (e.g. watching TV an IPAD that don’t require Fine Motor skills)
  • No interest in pencil or scissors skills
  • Being ‘bossy’ in play and asking others to “draw a cat for me”
  • Not persisting in the face of a challenge (e.g. asking parents to fix a problem without physically trying to fix it themselves)
  • Waiting for parents to dress them or clean their teeth rather than trying themselves
  • Refusal to use a stylus with the IPAD and keyboards.

Developing fine motor skills for preschoolers begins quite a few years before they turn five. As soon as a baby begins to grab at a simple object, they are beginning to hone their fine motor skills. They certainly haven’t mastered them yet, but they’re trying. And eventually, they end up means some milestones are present at birth only when you see your child grabs your hand. As they become toddlers, their fine motor skills become even more precise. They begin to refine their gripping skills and the various muscles in their hands for grasping.

Developing fine motor skills for toddlers is so important. It takes work to strengthen the required muscles in the fingers, and as parents, we can help to give them the opportunity to practice these skills.

Development of fine motor skills

6 months

  • Uses both hands to reach for, and grasp, objects. Will occasionally use one hand.
  • Uses the whole hand to grasp the object.
  • Can pass an object from one hand to the other.

12 months

  • Picks up small objects.
  • Uses pincer grasp with thumb and index finger.
  • Reaching and grasping actions becoming one smooth action.

18 months

  • Picks up small objects quickly using a fine pincer grasp.
  • Holds pencil at middle or top with whole hand or attempt at thumb and fingers grip.
  • Beginning to show the favored hand.

2 years

  • can pick up and place tiny objects quickly and accurately.
  • Holds pencil near point and uses thumb and fingers grip.
  • Can turn single pages in a book.

3 years

  • Can build a tower of up to ten blocks using both hands cooperatively.
  • Can use a pencil with good control.
  • Can cut with toy scissors.

4 years

  • Can use blocks to build small bridges on request and small steps on demonstration.
  • Can imitate touching each finger with the thumb.
  • Can use a pencil with proper grip and control, as an adult.Can touch the tip of each finger to their thumb
  • Use fork correctly
  • Can cut a big circle with scissor
  • Can dress and undress by its own

5 years

  • Grasps a pencil correctly
  • Begins to print their name
  • Copies a triangle shape
  • Opens a lock with a key
  • Draw a diamond shape when given a model
  • Draws a person with at least 6 different body parts
  • Can lace their shoes

How does Occupational Therapy help children to develop fine motor skills?

Children or individuals who have significant trouble with performing fine motor skills exercises are often referred to an occupational therapist (OT). The OT works with the child and their parents, caregivers , and/or teachers to formulate a therapy plan to address the child’s individual needs. Depending upon sensory needs associated with children who are lacking behind in fine motor skills occupational therapists, special educators both work synchronizing to adopt different strategies and adaptations to overcome the problems associated with developmental delays, fine motor skills.

Although the therapy differs between individuals, progressing the development of fine motor skills usually involves:

– Identifying which hand is dominant for the child and emphasizing its use to improve performance, whilst also practicing using both hands to complete activities

– Practice using individual fingers (not all fingers at the same time)

– Incorporating the use of pegs or clips in play to promote finger and grasp strength

– Beading, threading or lacing tasks

- Associated difficulties with the children facing right now.

– Tasks involving construction that involve pulling and pushing exercises with the fingers

– Games involving manipulation skills such as Connect 4 or picking up small objects

– Various craft activities using scissors, tape, implements (e.g. jars) with screw lids

- Sensory need associated with the child

– Encouraging participation in fine motor tasks to enhance the enjoyment

Remember no two children think, achieve, learn, and develop alike are not the same. The pattern of development can be different say like one can preceded further days forward others may achieve serval days or week ahead!

If you have any query drop us in comments!

Happy learning!

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