Children need fine motor skills in order to learn and develop a number of other more complex skills. Advancements in technology do not negate the need for a child to hold and use writing utensils, scissors and other small tools properly. Parents need to understand how to improve their child’s motor skills and why those skills are so important.
The Importance of Motor Skills
Fine motor skills have a lasting impact on your child’s everyday life. As cell phones, computers and other electronics become smaller and more delicate; the ability to strengthen and control the small movements becomes increasingly important. Moreover, simple tasks like holding a pen or using a set of scissors are easier when motor skills are improved upon early in life. Also, if your child is interested in learning to play a musical instrument, fine motor skills can make that much easier to accomplish.
Evaluating Your Child’s Skills
Before you can begin to improve your child’s motor skills, you have to accurately evaluate their current skill set. The easiest way to evaluate your child’s motor skills is to complete a readiness test children often take before entering kindergarten. Sample readiness tests are available online and some school systems provide them to interested parents.
Handwriting & Tracing
Since handwriting is one of the most important activities where motor skills are used, practicing handwriting with your child can strengthen those skills over time. Encourage your child to practice handwriting skills by completing letter tracing sheets and writing exercises. Every time your child starts a new line of letters or words, he or she will need to work on controlling where the pencil touches the paper so they start in the same place. Watch and make sure your child is holding the pencil correctly and keeping to the defined lines and margins.
Improvement Through Games
Games can be a very useful tool when improving your child’s fine motor skills. Toys like puzzles, coloring books and building blocks strengthen a child’s hand and finger muscles while pushing them to control those muscles at the same time. Puzzles are exceptional at improving motor skills as the child will need to pick up, identify and place each puzzle piece in order to complete the final picture. Motor skill improvement through play will put less pressure on your child, who will then enjoy the process of becoming more adept.
Fine motor skills can make more complex tasks easier for your child to learn and master. Encourage the development and improvement of your child’s fine motor skills with easy, fun and low pressure activities.