The Importance of Fine Motor Skills for Developing Children
Here is why you need to be working on your kid’s mental math abilities as soon as possible!
Parents these days are proactively trying to enroll their children in various programs such as Abacus training and we are sure you are curious as to why.
The overall development of a child is attributed to a wide range of factors that cover both the physical and mental development of the child right from birth to adolescence. Each of the skills developed by the child during normal growth and development is highly essential and our focus now is on the fine motor skills.
What Are Fine Motor Skills?
The Fine Motor Skills can be understood by imagining small-scale movements and actions that require a certain amount of precision and accuracy. For example, when your child holds his or her pencil by grasping it, the skill exhibited by your child in doing so is a fine motor skill. These skills usually require the combined action of a smaller group of muscles (the ones in your hand) as opposed to gross motor skills such as crawling, walking, running, etc. The fine motor skills of a person are what contributes to the quality of any task they perform, by contributing to the efficiency and speed of the task as well as by maintaining precision. This skill is a combination of numerous independent skills that when occur simultaneously produce one highly effective action.
What Are the Features of Fine Motor Skills?
There are certain essential features that are necessary for the development of these fine motor skills in growing children. These features include:
General awareness of one’s own body- its position and movement, which are determined by the joints sending signals to the brain and keeping it, updated on any change in position or movement. This awareness is known as proprioception.
Good hand-eye coordination forms the basis of many skills such as picking out a small object of a certain color among many others, developing a proper handwriting, etc.
Developing the required skill to successfully manipulate objects plays a huge factor in developing good fine motor skills. This comes in handy when performing day to day tasks of the child such as learning to brush his or her own teeth.
Recognising the dominant hand by consistently using the same to perform the majority of the tasks is a markedly important feature. As is learning to identify two sides of their own bodies by being able to imagine a central line that divides them into two equal parts.
Learning to use both the hands together in such a manner that one hand carries out most of the work- in other words, leads the action while the other stabilizes the action. An example of this would be holding down an object so that its lid can be opened.
Why Is It Important to Develop Fine Motor Skills In Children?
Fine motor skills play a huge role in the child’s day to day activities and every further skill they need to develop such as writing, coloring, painting, using scissors for craft and so on. To do all this and more, children need to develop strength and control over their growing hands and fingers. Imagine the daily routine of a child who goes to school and is about 12 years old. He or she will need to learn to brush their teeth, following which they will have to put on their clothes which shall involve buttoning up their shirts if not tying their shoelaces as well.
Then when they sit down for breakfast, they need to be using their spoons and holding down their bowls to avoid spilling. Upon reaching school-flipping pages carefully of a book just picked out from the bag using their fingers correctly to not drop it. Writing down things, holding their rulers and geometry tools and so on it goes every day. Without developing fine motor skills, none of these tasks would be possible with accuracy or even half of the efficiency.
How Can You Improve Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills?
Developing fine motor skills in growing children is not a rigorous task and can be achieved through very simple and effective exercises. The following are some really simple techniques that can be employed by parents as well as a nursery school and kindergarten teachers to ensure the complete and overall development of the children.
Developing Fine Motor Skills in Babies
When your infant is still too young to move a distance on their own, allow them the time spent lying on their bellies. This will encourage them to learn to push up and reach out to things around them in time.
Developing Fine Motor Skills in Toddlers
At the early age work towards developing the much needed pincer grasp- which involves the combined use of the index finger along with the thumb. You can do this by letting your baby, older than 7-8 months feed themselves using their fingers and supplementing them as required. The action of picking up the food and bringing it up to her mouth is an excellent developmental milestone.
The young child should be allowed to play with as much clay dough as they wish to, under the strict supervision, of course, to make sure that their little hands grow really strong and firm.
In case your child is a toddler, encourage him or her to play with puzzles or anything involving color coding and small amounts of creative logic. This will help them improve their grasp and stacking skills as well as develop strong cognitive skills. However, make sure they’re constantly watched as their first instincts would be to bring these objects to their mouths even when they’re three years of age.
For Ages between 3-10
As they grow older, encourage them to put on their own socks and button their own shirts. Allow room for mistakes. Teach them to observe their environment.
As they grow up, find a math tutor who can help them improve their mental math abilities, by providing them with abacus training and other math help. After school tutoring with challenging math programs and other tutoring programs can be highly beneficial.
It is advisable to keep a track on all of your child’s developmental aspects including their fine motor skills and see that it corresponds to what skills are expected from them for their age. Follow standard charts and be patient. Seek the attention of a pediatric specialist in case you notice severe delays in the development of these fine motor skills. Delay in achieving the skills for age can be an indicator of an underlying neurological condition or other factors that need medical attention and treatment.
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