7 Ways Parents Can Help Young Children Develop Motor Skills

TinyEYE Occupational Therapy Wendy shares 7 tips for parents to practice motor coordination skills with their children at home.

Guest Post: Wendy, TinyEYE Occupational Therapist

As an Occupational Therapist and fellow parent of 2 young daughters, I am often approached by parents who want ideas about how to help their children develop their motor skills. Listed below are seven simple ideas to play and help develop your child’s motor skills.

2014-05-12_16_22_10-1. As your child becomes interested in coloring or drawing, have him work at an easel or tape a large piece of paper to the wall.  This will help to develop stability in the shoulder and elbow while developing the dynamic movements in the wrist and fingers for writing.

2. If you child is interested in drawing, coloring or writing, encourage them to do so! I often recommend triangular-shaped crayons to encourage using the thumb, index, and middle fingers for writing.

3. If your child is no longer putting objects in her mouth, have her string beads on a pipe cleaner, play the game light brite, stack and imitate block designs of varied sizes, or pick up small objects with kid’s tongs.

4. Cutting with scissors is a great activity for kids to develop the writing fingers, wrist mobility, and using the non-dominant hand to hold paper while cutting.  Ask her to make snowflakes or cut out all the junk mail we get in our mailboxes.

5. Make play doh.  Here is a great child-safe recipe:
Ask your child to measure and pour.  Play with shaving cream.  “Draw” with shaving cream.  Develop core strength by asking your child to lie on his tummy when reading books.

6. Talk about left and right.  Does mommy turn left or right to get to our house?  Encourage her touch her right hand to her left knee; left hand to right knee.

7. When you feel your child needs to calm his body, give him a cue to breath deeply:  Smell a flower, blow out Birthday candles.  It is amazing what taking a few deep breaths can do for making us feel more calm and focused.

I hope the above ideas can be simple play adaptations to help your child feel comfortable in her body and develop her motor skills.  Have fun!