Naturally, when it comes to consistent use of motor skills, occupational therapists note that the young ones do not really need any encouragement. Unless they are under the weather, kids are a bunch of activity and excitement. However, it is still important to help them with the finer motor skills, particularly since these skills often support other important skills like mental and physical ability.
Take a simple activity like stacking blocks, which most parents love to see their kids perform. This is not just supposed to be about picking up the blocks, but your child should also know what to do with whatever blocks they have picked. This is why it is important that as a parent, you know how to encourage the fine motor skills in your child.
In order to help toddlers learn new skills or simply new stuff, especially those who have dyspraxia, you have to prod them in the right manner. Try not to be in a hurry however, because kids often learn at different speeds. Therefore, your child will definitely not be able to do everything you hope they can, in one go. Your role as a parent is to encourage them, to provide the support that they need, and more importantly to allow them enough time to learn, and you might be surprised what these kids can do.
It is common occupational therapy practice that from time to time, you allow your child to try getting dressed on their own, or making their own breakfast. Of course you will have to expect some buttons being done wrong, or quite some mess on the table when you leave your child with their spatula, jam and a slice of bread, but these are just the first steps.
Importance of variety
You should also try and present your child with a variety of things to do. Do not be repetitive in the activities, because they too do get bored. Try different activities that will help you not only build on your child’s fine motor skills, but also encourage the development of new skills.
Learning important dressing skills
Most parents can relate to this; dressing up your child and getting ready to leave the house, then just as you are about to head out, you realize that they are completely naked. Kids love to do this; putting things on and taking them off. However, take note that your child is not necessarily doing this to make you angry or to get your attention.
The act of dressing and undressing either on their own or on any of the toys that they have presents you and your child with some good learning opportunities. Through this, they are able to perfect their finger and hand coordination skills. What occupational therapists recommend you should do therefore, is to create as many opportunities for them to succeed as you can.
If you get them doll clothes that are too small, this will only make them frustrated and you will have to deal with lots of tears. However, if you get doll clothes that are sizeable and easily manageable even for them, they will love the experience, and will learn much faster.
Another alternative would be to find felt boards with people shapes, especially the ones that come with changeable outfits. These are a good option because in the long run, they allow your child to get a brilliant chance to try out their fashion sense without feeling like they face too much of a challenge while at it.
For dressing up, toddlers tend to love the pants that have elastic bands along the waist, Velcro-fastening shoes or pull-on tops. These are items that provide minimal struggles in the morning. Once they get used to these ones, you can then introduce fairly easy struggles into their routine, like a big snap, or a large button to deal with.
From 1 – 1½ years, kids normally make attempts at writing. Perhaps this is as a result of the fascination with the way they see people around them write. They will therefore start making marks on paper at this age. Between that age and 2 years old, they could also start drawing lines all over the place.
When you notice these doodles, you should appreciate them, and encourage them because this is just the beginning of some new abilities that they are learning. There are some fine motor skills that are involved in using crayons, such as holding and grasping and boosting the child’s ability to visually comprehend things around them, and more importantly, imagination.
To boost these skills, you can use large sheets of paper and tape them to the table, for your child to work on. Most of the shrieks mothers send their way when they start drawing on anything they come across just work towards inhibiting their ability.
There is so much that you can do for your child, and in the long run, with some encouragement they will be able to turn out just fine. You must also respect the fact that kids will grow and learn at different paces in their lives.