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Developing Fine Motor Skills

Jun 06, 2010 | By Kelly Boyer

The importance of developing fine motor skills is crucial. Without learning how to properly use these skills, everyday activities can be cumbersome for young children.

Young boy tying shoelacesFine motor development requires movement of the small muscles in the fingers (index, middle, and thumb) and wrists, usually in coordination with the eyes. Children are learning how to develop hand stability by building muscle strength. Adults often perform these skills routinely, but for young children it requires much concentration and effort. This article is to emphasize the importance of building proper fine motor development in young children.

Building the Foundation for the Future

Fine motor skills help build the foundation for a variety of skills for young children. As they advance through childhood they will begin to enhance these skills allowing them to perform activities such as:

  • Buttoning/ unbuttoning clothes
  • Lacing Shoes
  • Tying/ untying
  • Zipping/ unzipping
  • Dressing/ undressing
  • Bathing
  • Writing

One of the most essential reasons for developing fine motor skills is to help aid in the ability of self-help proficiency. In the beginning, young children need to learn how to dress themselves and use the toilet. Literacy and numeracy skills come later as they move into their pre-kinder years.

Fine Motor Development

Young child drawing a pictureChildhood is such a crucial time for the development of proper muscle strength and control within children’s hands and wrists. Although children develop at different times, they will display different strengths depending on their interests. For example, children who are interested in art tend to develop their writing and painting skills sooner than children who are interested in building.

As children grow older they reach a variety of milestones that demonstrate whether or not proper development is taking place. These indicators are a great way to know what steps need to be taken to assure that children's growth is moving in a continuous upwards motion. Some of these achievements include:

  • Discovering arms, hands, feet, fingers, and toes
  • Grasping of objects
  • Feeding themselves
  • Buttoning, tying knots, lacing
  • Drawing and cutting

Mastery of these skills does take time. Daily usage of the fingers, wrists, and eye coordination will help enhance young children’s fine motor development.

Repercussions of Poor Fine Motor Development

Young child making a finger painting

There are many factors that can effect fine motor development. One that is most commonly found in young children is a lack of interest or desire in what they are doing. It is only logical that children learn better when they are interested in the activity they are performing. It is very important that parents, teachers, and caregivers engage children in activities that are fun and exciting. Unfortunately, there can be serious repercussions if children’s fine motor skills develop poorly.

Often children will experience low self-esteem and frustration as a result of inadequate fine motor development. These negative feelings will make children avoid participating in activities that require theses skills. The fear of failing prevents children from enhancing their fine motor skills which can become problematic for future development. Children who feel overwhelmed and challenged need to be encouraged. Positive reinforcement is an excellent way to motivate children when they are feeling discouraged about performing fine motor tasks.

Fine motor skills do not develop instantaneously. They require patience, understanding, time, and practice. Encouraging children to perform activities that help strengthen the muscles in their fingers and hands will enhance their fine motor development. Eventually difficult tasks such as buttoning, writing, and getting dressed will become easier and less stressful.

About the author:
Kelly Boyer
 is a freelance writer and former teacher, with Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and an emphasis in Early Childhood Development. She has extensive experience in the educational field, where some of her specialties include helping needy families, working with children who have behavioral problems, and community outreach.
Click here to contact or read more articles by Kelly Boyer.

Tags : fine motor skills, development, children, impact of poor development, kids

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