It’s quite likely that you are reading this article because your child has started kindergarten or school and is becoming frustrated when they are unable to complete simple everyday activities such as writing, cutting or drawing. Your child’s teacher may have also mentioned to you that they are having difficulty with either their fine or gross motor skills…or both!
If you google ‘fine motor skills’ or ‘fine motor weakness’, you are bombarded with information from a range of websites that can confuse you even more with what you should be doing! In this article, I aim to help you answer the question ‘where to from here?’, with helping your little ones strengthen their fine motor skills.
An important first step in this process is determining the extent of the problem and how much it is impacting upon your child’s learning. After discussing the concern with your child’s teacher, the best qualified person to do an initial screening for fine motor weakness is an occupational therapist.
As a classroom teacher, I always err on the side of caution and recommend to the parents of any children that I have a concern for that they see an OT. I would like to mention though that not every child requires intervention by an OT. To put this into perspective, from my class that I taught last year, I referred 10 children for an occupational therapy screening. Out of those 10 children, only 1 child required weekly therapy and the other 9 children required monitoring throughout the year.
As a dedicated teacher who wants the best for each and every child, I felt that simply ‘monitoring’ was not enough in improving children’s fine motor skills.
Just like if your larger muscles were weak and you had trouble lifting shopping bags or lifting your child, you would go to the gym to use weights to strengthen those muscles. The same is required for the smaller or ‘fine’ motor muscles.
How do you do this you might ask? I believe the key is practice, practice and more practice! Just like anything, it will take time to strengthen their fine motor muscles but daily activities, just like if you were going to the gym and doing weights, will begin to increase strength in little hands.
The best way to strengthen these muscles is through a hands-on and engaging way so that your children actually want to practice! Think all things that require little ones to use their hands:
- Opening and closing lids, jars and containers
- Using child friendly scissors like spring scissors to practice snipping and cutting
- Playing with manipulative objects like Lego or Mobilo
- Playing with tweezers, tongs or pegs to pick up objects
- Using plasticine or play dough to make shapes or creations
I could make this list go on and on however what is important to know is that there are good sites and places to help with giving you ideas and resources that your children are going to love.
Here at Fit Fingers, we have developed an all inclusive pack that includes multi-purpose resources which can be diversely used to strengthen little hands. We have also created a list of activity ideas that will provide you with hours of fine motor fun.
You’ve made the important first step in identifying the issue and researching ways to help. The next step is getting your child’s little fingers busy and fit. At Fit Fingers, we are here to help with this important part of your journey.
See more information about our Fit Fingers product.