Your child needs to develop hand skills (or fine motor skills) so they can feed and dress themselves, play and draw.
Some children can struggle to develop these skills because of movement problems, learning difficulties or developmental delays.
If your child is struggling to develop hand skills, you’ll notice that they:
This is one of the first stages of a child’s development and is a building block for all other fine motor skills. To help them develop, try:
Once they’re confident with these activities, you’ll notice that their grasp starts to change and they begin to move their wrist too (cylindrical grip). Continue developing this grip with activities like:
Your child will also develop a pincer grip. This is a more precise grip and means they use their index finger and thumb to pick up, hold and release an object. To start with, your child will use their thumb and the side of their index finger. It’s important to help them develop this grip as it’s used for holding a pencil or scissors, handwriting, and functions like doing up buttons, zips and shoelaces.
Activities you can try to help them develop and refine the pincer grip include:
Your child will also develop the ability to point with one finger at a time. This ability will help them further develop their pincer grip and pencil grip and is important for handwriting, using scissors, doing up buttons, zips and laces and using a knife and fork.
Activities you can try to help promote finger isolation include:
Hand arches let your child shape their hand so they can get a strong hold on different objects. It also helps with controlling pressure and skilled movements of their fingers. If these arches aren’t developed fully, your child could have difficulty using objects like a knives, forks, pencils and scissors.
Activities you can try to help develop hand arches include:
If by two years of age, if they can’t pick up small objects between their thumb and index finger and you have tried all of these techniques, please speak to your health visitor or GP.