Fine motor skills are truly a gift. We use them for daily living in carrying out routines, working on projects, and of course, enjoying the finer things in life. These skills often become automatic, so we tend to take them for granted. For our parents out there, we know you’ve witnessed your little one practice with their fine motor skills every day. They may need a little help zipping those zippers, tying those laces, and buttoning that shirt (thanks, Mom!), but kids are pros at persistently working towards mastery. Let’s appreciate these little moments of learning by digging deeper into the importance of fine motor skill development for our kiddos.
Little Movements, Big Accomplishments
What makes fine motor skills so fine? One aspect that we absolutely love is how they play an integral part in our everyday lives. We couldn’t live without them! Fine motor skills practice means working the small (fine) muscles, which often refer to hand, wrist, and finger motion. They are unlike gross motor skills where larger muscles in the body coordinate movements. On the daily, we use fine motor skills in a variety of tasks such as with self-care (brushing your teeth), schoolwork (handwriting), and last but not least, playtime (building with clay). Little movements give us the power to accomplish functional tasks all day long.
Standing in the Way of Fine Motor Skills
The not-so-fine truth of fine motor skills: some kids can really struggle with them! Luckily, any child can learn the skills they need to make tasks easier and more productive. A child could have trouble for a number of reasons such as with cerebral palsy, sensory processing disorder, or a developmental delay. If you notice your child struggling with or avoiding tasks that involve fine motor skills, it could be a sign of a bigger issue at hand. While all kiddos need lots of time and exposure to fine motor skills practice, a child that faces challenges with fine motor skills will greatly benefit from an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist will guide your kiddo in practicing these skills so that they learn to knock them out of the park.
Nurturing Skills We Use on the Daily
Is your kiddo dressing their Polly Pocket? Do they enjoy writing in school? How about eating cereal? Provide your kiddo an abundance of opportunities to practice their fine motor skills. Many kids love how-to-draw or other DIY tutorials from YouTube. You may also decide to allow them to explore after school opportunities such as playing an instrument in band. Toys like clay or cars can serve as a useful outlet for practicing with fine motor skills as well. Kids need a minimal number of toys to have a successful session of play, so you don’t need to go out of your way to find the latest gadgets and gizmos. Less is more! Allow your kiddo to try tasks first before giving them a hand too. This way, they have the chance to succeed and grow their confidence. Besides, every kiddo deserves to thrive when it comes to progressing the skills that they’ll use every single day!
If your kiddo has trouble with their fine motor skills, reach out so that we can help. Correcting issues sooner rather than later will help your kiddo the most.