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Coordination and Motor Skills: Helping Children Improve

Childhood development includes learning coordination and motor skills. These skills involve movement and are essential for children whether they are playing, learning or performing daily activities. Fine motor skills relate to the movement of the small muscles of the hands, wrists, and fingers. Gross motor skills refers to the movement of larger muscles, such as those in the arms and legs. The acquisition of motor skills allows the child to perform different functions.

Improving motor skills involves dexterity, strength and fine motor control. Learning the skills helps children become more independent. The ability to effectively use muscles allows children to perform simple tasks without assistance. Coordination describes how children can exercise their arms and legs in an efficient and coordinated way. Most activities require children to have coordinated movements as well as good motor planning. There are ways to help children improve their coordination and motor skills.

RELATED: 7 Activities To Help Preschoolers Develop Fine Motor Skills

Development of fine motor skills

Children naturally develop fine motor skills as they learn to control their bodies. However, some children develop these skills earlier than others. These children have better coordination and they can easily perform simple tasks. One child may be able to pick up toys and other objects at three months old, while another child of the same age may take longer to do the same.

It is important to understand that children do not develop at the same rate. If your child seems to be developing more slowly than other children, this may not be a sign of a problem.

A mother dancing with her two daughters.
Photo by Rodnae-Productions-de Pexels

How to improve motor skills

If your child has weaknesses in coordination and motor skills, there are strategies for improvement. Poor coordination can affect a child’s ability to perform tasks such as eating, dressing, and even playing.

Talking to a physiotherapist can help you determine if your child’s motor skills are a problem. There are games and toys that can help your child develop fine motor skills. The games are designed for children of different ages, from infants and toddlers to school children.

Develop coordination skills

There are tips you can use to help your child improve their coordination skills. The first thing to do is to choose activities suitable for your child. Remember to offer lots of encouragement and praise as you work with your child.

Praising her attempts will encourage her to keep trying. If a child has difficulty with certain activities, try something different. You can resume difficult activity after several days. Plan different activities and establish a daily and weekly routine that will work best for your child.

Drawing painting

Teaching and encouraging your child to draw, color and paint is a great way to develop motor skills. Remember, drawings or paintings don’t have to be great. The idea is to use hands and fingers effectively. Different painting activities can help improve manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Finger painting will allow the child to use their hands while the use of a paintbrush will help the child learn to use a paintbrush as a tool. You can find different painting kits that will help your child take control while enjoying the activity.

A dad and his daughter painting.
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Use craft activities

Activities like origami are very helpful in improving coordination and motor skills. Origami is an art that involves the use of paper to create different shapes. Origami is a fun craft and involves the whole family. The simple act of cutting paper helps build muscles in the fingers and hands.

Making doilies, greeting cards, and other crafts are very useful. For younger children, working with putty and plasticine can help improve a child’s motor skills. Making craft activities as fun as possible will help your child learn better.

Developmental coordination disorder

While it is true that your child’s fine motor skills may develop at a slower rate, there is a time when you need to seek professional help. If your child is having trouble with the skills, it could be a sign of a disorder. The delay could indicate that the child has a developmental coordination disorder.

This disorder affects between 5 and 6% of school children. Some signs of the disease include inability to tie shoes, falling objects, difficulty writing or using scissors, and difficulty holding a toothbrush or spoon.

Talk to a pediatrician if you have any concerns. Detecting a developmental delay early can help ensure your child gets the help they need.

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