There are so many moving pieces that go into tasks you do every day and never think about. Your eyes and hands automatically work together as you button your shirt, tie your shoes, or write down a reminder for later. Being able to manipulate small objects and coordinate movements is a skill that takes time for children to develop and refine. Motor skills development occurs throughout childhood as they are constantly learning, trying new things, and practicing their independence.
Having strong hand control is essential for children to perform activities of daily living. When their muscles are weak, it can make coordinating these tasks more difficult. Fortunately, occupational therapy for children can help them to build muscles and coordination that will benefit them throughout their lives.
Fine Motor Skills: A Vital Part of a Child’s Development
There are certainly different age ranges for meeting developmental milestones, but as a parent, you may notice your child struggling with various activities. Holding silverware to eat or crayons to color may be a challenge. You may be wondering why they still haven’t mastered buttoning their pants or putting on Barbie’s shoes.
All of these activities require fine motor skills – coordinating small movements of the fingers and hands with the eyes. Using a pincher grasp is one of the most common. If you are worried about your child’s motor skills development, a team of experts can evaluate their progress and look for any areas where they may be delayed. They may also check for low muscle tone which can affect core strength and stability that are essential for many tasks.
Improve Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills with These Exercises
You can help your child improve their fine motor skills through grasp exercises and hand strengthening activities. While there are toys and games specifically designed to practice these skills, you can also use things you already have at home. You have plenty of options, such as clothing with buttons, snaps, and zippers, plus lots of materials for stringing, sorting, stacking, and more.
Here are just a few activities that improve fine motor skills:
- Play-Doh, clay, or putty
- Stacking blocks
- Cutting and pasting
- Putting small objects into a container and then taking them out
- Stringing beads or cereal
- Water play with sponges, basters, eyedroppers, or cups
- Setting the table
- Holding utensils, markers, or crayons
- Pouring into cups
- Helping with meals by stirring, shaking, chopping, and mixing
Occupational Therapy at Therapeutic Movements
If your child is behind on meeting developmental milestones or needs extra support, occupational therapy can help them build necessary skills. A therapist will determine your child’s needs and what occupational therapy services they can most benefit from.
Therapeutic Movements works with children of all ability levels on a wide range of activities:
- Fine motor and gross motor development and coordination
- Handwriting and dysgraphia treatment
- Sensory integration
- Interactive metronome for attention, learning differences, and coordination deficits
- Rehabilitation for neurological injuries and deficits
- Rehabilitation for upper extremity injuries
- Balance and vestibular deficits
We work with your child to overcome injuries and deficiencies so that they can be more independent and confident throughout all aspects of their lives. Whether in school, at home, or in the community, fine motor skills are a critical component of functioning effectively.
One of the great things about hand strengthening activities and other development exercises is that they can be fun and engaging. Your child won’t even realize they’re learning and practicing because they’re simply enjoying the activity. Encourage them along the way and realize that every child develops at their own pace. Celebrate small successes and keep setting goals for the future. Therapeutic Movements can help your child to achieve developmental milestones and explore opportunities they never thought possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or discuss our services.