Fine motor skills refers to the smaller muscles of your hands, which are used more frequently to write, grab small objects, cinch up clothes, etc. Well-developed fine and gross motor skills are a critical component in the readiness of children for writing. Childrens fine motor skillsaor small muscular movements in their fingers, hands, and wristsamust be practiced and developed early in life to ensure that kids are successful at writing.
If a baby or a child as young as five years old is not developing his fine motor skills, they will show signs of difficulties controlling coordinated movements of his body with his hands, fingers, and face. Motor skills such as pincer grasping and arm strength are important to the childs development and ability to use the hands for fine motor movements.
Being able to control small muscles of the hands and fingers has been shown to be more influential in writing skills than the actual pencil grip that the child uses. Handwriting depends on the ability of fine motor skills to control the pencil in order to form letters, and the proper pressure on the pen and the paper. Handwriting is the intricate skills involved with using language through gripping a pencil, letter formation, and posture.
Remember that two of the most important aspects of writing with a toddler are letter formation and pencil grasp. Often, when we ask young children to write in the lines, they focus more on the lines and less on the letter formation and grasping the pencil.
It makes perfect sense that when introducing handwriting to younger children, we should concentrate on those two skills. Your students will have greater success in writing when introduced to these skills in the correct order.
Before beginning handwriting tasks3, children must develop readiness skills to form letters, such as a complete understanding of various sensory-motor systems, development of large and small muscles, visual perception, fine motor skills, and hand manipulation skills7, 8). There are a number of skills involved in writing, including visual, hand-eye coordination, muscular memory, posture, body control, as well as the grip and formation of letters with the pencil. There are a lot more skills involved in writing successfully, and many begin before the child ever picks up a pencil or crayon.
Developing these skills allows a person to perform tasks like writing, drawing, holding small objects, fastening clothes, turning pages, eating, cutting with scissors, and using a computer keyboard. Motor skills continue to grow as you grow older, with practice, and as you make greater use of your muscles when playing sports, playing an instrument, using the computer, and writing. Gross motor activities, which improve postural control and muscular strength in proximal muscles, are helpful when developing writing skills.
Parents can support this development by intervening when the child is not doing the fine motor activities properly, using multiple senses during a learning activity, and offering activities the child will succeed at. By engaging in hands-on activities, children learn that some objects are heavier, which requires more force to move; that some are smaller, which slides through fingers easily; and that other objects fall apart, which may be reassembled. All these activities help children build the hand skills needed to hold pencils.
Children this age are usually able to shake their hands, wave their hand goodbye, and scribble with the pencil, all without assistance. Preschoolers motor skills are modest, allowing a child to cut shapes from paper, paint or draw on vertical lines with a crayon, buttons his clothes, and pick up objects. Eventually, most children will be able to hold the pencil using only the thumb and one or two fingers, which indicates they have developed the grasp of the pencil.
When using a closed fist grip, many younger children move their writing implements with shoulder movements and the whole hand. An example of a fist grasp is a child using the whole hand and wrapping it around a pencil while spelling out a name. Young children start out with big movements with the entire arm while they are first color-ing or writing, but it transitions into smaller movements of the wrist and arm.
Typically, children develop from an all-hands grasp in infancy to a pronated, digital grasp in infancy, with a full-fledged or dynamic three-hand grip developing around age 6. By the age of 2 or 3, many younger children will already have selected their dominant hand to write, provided that they are given ample opportunities to practice their fine motor skills at home. Skills like bilateral hand coordination, wrist extension, strength in reaching with a large grip, pincer grip, opening the thumbs web spaces, and separation between the sides of their hands are just some examples of the fine motor skills necessary for functional development and efficient manipulation of tools.
Fine motor skills may also be described as dexterity, and they include coordination of smaller muscles and movements in the hands, fingers, and eyes. Fine motor skills development begins with basic grips, such as the palmar grip, then progresses to the pincer grip, and the eye-hand coordination. Among these factors, fine motor skills enable demonstrating good legibility of writing by being able to manipulate the writing instrument quickly and accurately during tasks like precision fine motor skills, manual dexterity, and hand-in-hand manipulation9, 10). Cutting with scissors is an important exercise for fine motor skills because it strengthens the fingers needed for control over a pencil, as well as helping develop stability in the ulnar (little finger side of the hand).
When teaching children how to read and write, we must remember that this is more than simply giving them a pencil and an image of the letter B and telling them to spell out their letters.