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Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills describes the physical development that starts with a baby being able to hold a rattle and continues until they are able to build bricks, dress themselves or hold a pen to write and draw.

By the time a child is 3 or 4 years old they will mostly draw in more detail and can play with more fiddly toys.

Most preschoolers will use either their left or right hand (it does not matter which!). They will be able to hold a pen or pencil using their thumb and fingers (not their fist). They will probably be drawing lots of pictures of family members, complete with a head and maybe some other body parts! They will be feeding and dressing themselves a lot of the time, and maybe just needing some help with tricky bits.

You can help them build on these skills by giving them lots of chances to practice;

  • Let them draw using colouring pens (you can get washable ones!) get them copying circles and shapes. Draw with them - they will like taking it in turns.
  • Encourage them to try and keep in the lines in colouring books.
  • Play at chopping and shaping play dough, cutting out with play scissors and dressing teddies and dolls.
  • Let your child try to do their own buttons and zips. It may take longer but these are important skills and they will get quicker. 

Who Can Help?

If you are worried that your child is really struggling with physical skills speak to their nursery or preschool setting first. If your child is not at nursery, or you are still worried contact Just One Number to talk to a health professional for advice and support.

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

Alternatively you can go to see your GP to discuss concerns.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

 

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