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Why it is important to develop your child’s fine motor skills

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PHOTO CREDIT: english.com

In the age of iPad, children in school know how to ‘swipe left’ yet lack the hand strength necessary to cut, write, and draw, a parenting enthusiast and play advocate, Oluseyi Ogunye, said.

Research suggests that technology is most likely to blame. IPads, tablets, and video games are replacing hands-on play activities.

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“Today, there is so much pressure on preschoolers to write that we sometimes forget how important it is to lay the foundation before constructing the building. As parents, you play a vital role in your child’s fine motor skill development. The foremost thing to do is to provide opportunities that are fun and interactive for your child.”

Ogunye noted that developing fine motor skills in early childhood education helps lay the foundation for important future skills like writing and self-care.

“Fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles that control the hand, fingers, and thumb.

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“They help children perform important tasks like feeding themselves, grasping toys, buttoning and zipping clothes, writing, drawing, and many more. The ability to complete self-care and everyday tasks helps a child’s self-esteem and confidence to increase, and this is a game-changer for a lifetime.

The Founder, Books and Montessori Hub, stressed that starting children early on developing their fine motor skills is very paramount and these skills will develop and improve as they grow. It just takes the right kind of practice to better this.

“Some children may struggle with performing tasks that require their fine motor skills. Inability to do this can make them upset and become frustrated. The risk of children moving forward in the educational system without developing these vital skills will only create potential risks such as refusal to participate in activities, avoidance techniques, anger outbursts, anxiety, and depression associated with a lack of competence in motor activities.

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“For example, a two-year-old may have a difficult time holding a pencil not to talk of writing, yet the parent will not handle the situation properly and may yell or spank the child. This could cause them to be frustrated at the task and avoid writing exercises because they feel it’s too difficult. Meanwhile, a child that age shouldn’t have business writing in the first place, not when they haven’t developed their hand muscles.”

For Ogunye said, activities that help build your child’s fine motor skills should be fun and engaging, these include Coloring/Drawing, Cutting, Tracing, Writing, Play Dough Activities, Sorting Pom Poms / Objects with Play Tweezers.

While free-play activities are building with Legos and Blocks, Puzzles, Dressing up dolls, Beading Necklaces, Drawing with crayons, and Playing with Play Dough. Self-care activities include Tying Shoes, Buttoning and Zipping Shirts and Jackets, Eating and Cutting Food, Brushing Hair and Teeth, and Using the Toilet.

Above all, make sure to keep the fine motor activities fun and change it up for your child. The more they want to play (clear evidence that it is fun for them) and explore with activities that build their fine motor skills, the more precise their movements will be. Bottom line is, each child develops fine motor skills at its own pace, so please no pressure. But, it is important for us as parents and teachers to enhance these skills.

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