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Fine-Motor Skill Development: Tips for Parents

  • Children experiencing movement difficulties require more time to learn a skill. They need constant feedback and quite often need to be physically taken through movements (kinesthetic assistance).
  • Some difficulties will disappear with maturity; some will not. The longer we allow inefficient physical movement to continue, such as incorrect handwriting grip, the harder it becomes to correct because the child practices poor movements which become habits, and then these have to be undone. Also, if these difficulties are left too long, some children begin to display avoidance behavior because they are not experiencing success.
  • Identifying the physical problems early can result in a favorable prognosis for improvement. However, this requires consistent, cooperative, and effective intervention by the school and by parents.
  • Try to make your child as independent as possible. To do this you must resist the temptation to complete the tasks for him or her, including such daily requirements as tying shoelaces, cutting food, and dressing. Instead, be there to assist your child as he or she completes the task.
  • It is very important to promote the strengths of the children as well as assisting with their difficulties. You can achieve this by choosing some of the activities that you know your child is good at; for example, the child may have difficulties tying his shoelaces, but is great at cutting out shapes; therefore, do some cutting sessions or include cutting as an enrichment session.
  • Above all, be patient with your child because it does take longer for children to learn skills than we think. Praise the child's efforts as well; we all need encouragement. Try to be consistent in following any program.

Excepted from Ready-to-Use Fine Motor Skills & Handwriting Activities for Young Children / Joanne M. Landy and Keith R. Burridge / The Center for Applied Research and Education / 1999

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