Fine Motor Skills: How to help your child

How decorating a Chinese dragon incorporates fine motor skills!

The term fine motor skills refers to movement of the small muscles in your hands, forearms, feet, face and mouth. Often when discussing fine motor skills, the focus is on the small muscles in the hand. Fine motor skills are an important factor of everyday life including reaching and grasping for objects, using colouring pencils, scissors, a knife and fork, playing with Lego, buttoning clothing and tying shoe laces.

On the run up to Chinese New Year a number of the children in the clinic have been making decorations to help develop their fine motor skills. The fine motor activities included are colouring, painting, sticking, smoothing paper, cutting, ripping tissue paper, gluing and using glitter. These activities require a child to have good postural stability, the ability to feel and understand objects, hand function; including the ability to grasp objects in a functional manner, take off lids and the ability to use both sides of your body (bilateral skills).

Good control of the small muscles in your hand will enable children to have good pencil control which will assist handwriting. If picking up and holding a pencil requires a great deal of conscious effort this will reduce their ability to fully attend to the curriculum. Alternatively if a child can write freely and easily, it is easier for them to concentrate.

Article by Ruth Davies – Occupational Therapist at Future Steps Consultancy

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