Fine Motor Development
A child needs to co-ordinate their hands to put on their shoes, hold a crayon, and eat little pieces of carrot from the table. Fine motor development is the co-ordination of muscles in the hands, wrists, feet, toes, lips, tongue, and face.
From the beginning, a baby uses his eyes to explore the environment. But the grasping reflex, which is present at birth, slowly allows your baby to carry out more voluntary hand movements.
- The grasping reflex allows a newborn baby’s fingers to curl around your finger if you press in into the baby’s palm.
- A baby will automatically grasp anything that is placed in their hands.
First Two Months
- During the first two months, your baby’s hands will be mostly clenched, and the arms are moved together and apart.
- You can see how your baby starts to open and close their hands on purpose -your child will look intently on the hand, and open and close it over and over again.
- A baby may try to grasp toys.
A little rattle is fun to play with, and a baby will move his hands to hear the rattling noise. There are also rattles that can be attached to a baby’s wrist or ankles.
But most fun is perhaps to reach out and touch parent’s faces. Encourage your baby to touch your face, and kiss his fingers to give him some feedback.
It is difficult to hold something using both hands so help your baby to hold toys in one hand.
Three- Four Months – Swiping Movements
- At three to four months, babies frequently reach out for toys with their arms and hands.
- The movements are a bit rough, and it looks like a swiping rather than a reaching.
- With practice, the movements become smoother and more co-ordinated.
Your child may bat toys that are hanging above him. And you can place your baby on a soft mat and hang fun things above him. It is more fun if he can reach and touch the toys.
You can also gently tap your baby’s hands with a toy to encourage him to reach for the toy. You can drop toys in the bath and let your bay reach for them. Splashing water is also fun.
Four to Eight Months
If you watch a baby hold a bottle, you will see that from the beginning he holds a bottle with both hands.
- The skills to rake things towards you is fast improving and it is a good idea to make sure that your baby cannot get injured by getting hold of little things.
- Babies like putting things in the mouth to examine them and their little hands are fast getting more skillful in picking up things.
- Your baby will also start to move things from one hand to the other.
- Many babies enjoy banging things together.
You can provide your child with easy to grasp objects such as soft books, board books, soft blocks, plastic rings, and board books.
Some parents let their children paint with food. Mashed potatoes or other soft food is just the right constancy for swirling around.
Sponges are great to squeeze and pouring the contents of cups is fun. You can allow this activity in the bath.
- Around their first birthday, babies can hold smaller toys or food in each hand.
- A baby uses the pincher grasp to hold something.
- A pincher grasp is more precise and if your watch your baby, you can see the finger and thumb being used to pick up things.
- To an adult, the pincher grasp may seem like an easy thing to do. But to use the thumb and forefinger requires sophisticated coordination.
You can let your child practice the pincher grasp by letting him pick up little food pieces by himself – fruits or vegetables cut in tiny little pieces are great fun.
Around their first birthday eating by using fork or spoon is also fun. Stacking towers and large building blocks are fun to play with and so are balls.
Playing with bolls is a wonderful way to encourage the development of hand and eye co-ordination. You can make a soft ball out of a pair of socks.
Sit on the floor and toss the balls or roll them on the floor to your baby. Your baby may think it is fun to chase after the ball. Catching the ball may be more difficult.
Please, remember babies develop at their own pace. If you are concerned about your child’s development ask your doctor.
Photo:Kid Playing At Pouring Cup Of Tea by Stuart Miles