9 Tips to Help Your Child Develop Fine and Gross Motor Skills While Having Fun

9 Tips to Help Your Child Develop Fine and Gross Motor Skills While Having Fun

Watching our children jump, play and have fun is one of the best parts of parenthood. But what do you do if your little one seems to be struggling? All kids develop differently but some kids might need a little help doing things like holding pencils or following directions. Your little one may need an assessment from an Occupational Therapist but there is also so much you can do every day at home to help. The best part is, to your child, it’s just fun.

Here are nine tips professionals recommend to help your child:

Get Outside 

Limit your screen and technology time and allow kids to play outside more often. They need ample opportunities to explore their muscles and develop their abilities.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Dirty 

Allow your kids to be messy sometimes! Whether they are playing or eating it is great to allow your kids that time to explore their environment and engage their senses!

Play With Them

Whether it’s dressing up, playing with toys or playing outside, children learn when they interact with their environment. Use words and ask them questions. They are learning and having fun!

Let Them Help in the Kitchen

Encourage your kids be a part of meal time. They can set the table, help mix ingredients, fill glasses, clear the table when everyone is done. This can help meal time be more enjoyable increase the amount of foods they will accept. Don’t forget to model for your kids. They might eat it if you eat it! They won’t eat it if you don’t eat it. 

Step Away

Take the time to work through hard tasks with your child to build their independence. It is easier and faster to just do some tasks for your child, but investing the time to help them learn to complete tasks on their own will help with their growth tremendously.

Tie, Buckle, Repeat

Encourage your kids to complete fasteners on their clothing and shoes. Plan ahead to give them extra time to try. This requires great patience, but the outcome is well worth it–increased independence and confidence for your child.

Keep Those Broken Crayons

Don’t throw away those broken crayons around the house if you have younger children! Research shows that providing broken crayons to preschool-aged children encourages them to “pinch” the crayon with their thumb and index finger and leads to a more mature grasp. 

Get Down

Play on the floor with your kids. Go on adventures exploring through the house in any movements other than walking. The movements of development are where our foundational strength is found.

Work on Problem-Solving Skills

Kids don’t want to act “bad” or “lazy”, when we see behaviors in our kids it is not a result of poor motivation, research has shown that when a child has chronic behavior problems it is because they are lacking the skills to participate or cope. When the demands of the tasks and the child’s skills do not match up that is when we see an increase in behaviors. Focus on helping your child improve his/her problem-solving skills in these situations. “The Whole Brain Child” is an easy read many professionals recommend to help increase understanding of your child’s developing mind.

Is Your Child Hitting Developmental Milestones?

So, what do you do if you’re still concerned? The federal government has developed a chart of developmental milestones (link to our website page on Milestones) helping you to see how your child is growing and what they are doing at a certain age.

These developmental milestones are a general idea of what to expect as children grow. Because you know your child best, you may feel like they need more help than you can give them at home. If so, talk to your doctor, who might prescribe Occupational Therapy. Early intervention is key. 

Keep working – and keep having fun – at home with your child. Children learn through play so finding ways to making learning fun will be beneficial for them – and for you.

Categories: Parenting Tips

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