Tying shoelaces, drawing pictures, eating with a fork, brushing teeth, etc. – these are everyday activities that most children do with ease.
These simple tasks require immense coordination between different small muscles along with speed, strength, and precision. And, child development experts call them fine motor skills!
These skills are an essential part of a child’s development. Fine motor skills are built on a child’s existing gross motor skills, which need them to use large muscle groups. According to a research paper published in Psychology Science Quarterly, fine motor skills impact the academic growth of the children. Fine motor skills, or lack thereof, will also help you understand if your child is ready for school or not. Another research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity in 2019 has shown that many children have poor motor competence. That is why understanding fine motor skills is of great importance for parents and teachers.
Today, let’s learn about:
Motor development is a process through which your child develops movement patterns and skills. Motor skills are referred to skills in which both the movement and the outcome of action are emphasized. For example, throwing or writing.
There are two types of motor skills
A research published in Human Movement Science defines fine motor skills as the use of small muscles involved in movements that require the functioning of the extremities such as fingers to manipulate objects.
Fine Motor Skills are necessary for everyday self-care activities such as eating and dressing. As your child learns to engage in these activities on their own, they become more independent. These skills are also required for play, study and social interaction. Generally, fine motor skills improve as the child grows up.
The development of the brain influences the development of fine motor skills in a child. The motor cortex primarily governs motor skills. The brain functions at its best when a fatty substance coats the neurons called myelin. This process of myelination is incomplete at birth. During the early years of the child, corpus callosum, a part of the brain, grows and begins to myelinate. It allows the brain to communicate more effectively and, in turn, allows your child to perform fine motor skills such as tying shoelaces.
Research published in Australian Occupational Therapy suggests that difficulties with fine motor skills can significantly affect a child’s academic, social and emotional development of a child. This makes fine motor skills a critical aspect of a child’s development.
Here are a few ways in which you can build the fine motor skills of your child at home.
Parental Involvement Level: No more than usual
Requirements: Eyedropper, Watercolours, A4 Papers, 2 to 3 Cups, Coin
Preparation: Draw a few coin-sized circles on a paper. Make coloured water.
Parental Involvement Level: Keep a close eye on the child
Requirements: Pencils, Sharpener, Paper, Toothpicks,
Preparation: Draw or print your child’s favourite picture or shape on the paper. Ensure that the border is on the thicker size.
Parental Involvement Level: Interactive
Preparation: List out activities that children could pretend to do such as scoop ice-cream or shoot an arrow.
Fine motor skills are essential for navigating everyday life. Your child’s fine motor skills will develop over time with muscle strength and practice. These skills do not develop in isolation so encourage your children to explore their environment and actively provide opportunities to practice small movements whenever possible.
Little Steps to build on your