Fine Motor Development impacts activities such as drawingFine Motor Development is an important aspect of school readiness. When kids have good fine motor skills they can complete basic everyday tasks easily.  Things like: picking up small items, writing, colouring, cutting and tying their shoelaces. And so, if your child experiences difficulties with these activities they might have problems with fine motor development. Now like most things it’s very important to identify these issues earlier rather than later.

What Are Fine Motor Skills?

Remember that there is a difference between fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills have to do all the little movements made by small muscle groups in your child’s hands, wrists and fingers. Wheres gross motor skills have to do with bigger movements that use larger muscle groups such as the one in the arms and legs. Both of these sets of skills are important in your child’s development, but fine motor skills are especially crucial. Because they enable your child to complete detailed tasks with greater precision.  And this in turn given them the confidence to perform tasks on their own.

Problems with Fine Motor Skills

About 10% of school-aged children struggle with fine motor skills.  If, at the age of 5 your child still struggles with any of the tasks below you might consider consulting an Educational psychologist

• Tying their own shoes

• Dropping items often

• Having difficulty holding a toothbrush or spoon

• Finding it difficult to draw or use scissors

  • Not being able to colour within the lines of the picture
Helping Your Child Develop

It is always recommended to consult an educational psychologist to assess your child if you suspect that he or she may be struggling with fine motor development. However, here are a few things you can do at home to help practice fine motor skills:

• Let them hold their knives, forks and spoons when they eat

• Have them wipe down the table with a sponge after dinner

• Get them to help set the table

• Encourage pouring water from one cup to another

• Allow them to get dressed on their own

•Have your child open and close containers with lids

• Build puzzles

• Paint with your fingers

• Play games together as a family (Jenga is a favourite in our house)

• Build with small blocks

These are just some of the everyday things that you can have your child do on their own to help them develop their fine motor skills. These skills are extremely important, and if you are unsure whether your child is developing correctly, it’s always best to see a professional.

For more information about the development of fine motor skills or to book a consultation, contact Anel at anel@childpsych.co.za.