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Your Child's Fine Motor Milestones

Motor-Skills-Milestones.jpgBy: Barbara Hetherington, Occupational Therapist, Riddle Hospital

When your baby is born, you count their little fingers and toes. What you may not know is that soon their tiny hands will become tools for exploring their new environment outside the womb. It is exciting to watch your baby first notice their hands and then eventually use them to play with a toy, finger feed self and some day draw you a picture.

Below are some basic fine motor milestones your child should be achieving in their first two years.

0 – 3 months: Early on your baby becomes aware of their hands. This is when babies learn to open and shut their hands and bring their hands to their mouths. They begin to grasp objects with their hands. You may notice your baby taking swipes at or reaching for dangling objects. To increase hand awareness, after a bath massage your baby’s hands with lotion and rub them together. To promote grasping, use rattles with slender handles, teethers or your finger.

3 – 6 months: During these months, babies hand movements become more purposeful. Babies will reach out for and grab objects and manipulate toys and other objects with their hands. To promote early reaching tap your baby’s hand with a toy to encourage reaching. Encourage reaching with both hands by nuzzling your baby’s tummy with your face to promote touching of your head with both their arms. During bath time, drop toys in the water to make a splash. This encourages purposeful release of objects.

6 – 9 months: During this time, babies learn to bring their hands to midline and clap. Babies enjoy playing games such as patty cake and peek-a-boo. This is a time to encourage reaching with one hand. Have baby reach for small toys and large toys to encourage two handed reach. Playing with bubbles is another fun way to encourage reaching.

9 – 12 months: In these last few months of your baby’s first year, Babies use a pincer grasp to feed self or hold small objects. A pincer grasp means holding the food or object between their thumb and index finger. To promote picking up small objects, use cooked pasta or cheerios. Offer the food towards the thumb side of your baby’s hand.

12 – 18 months: At this age, your baby is usually favoring use of one hand. When looking at books, your baby will be pointing to pictures. He or she will be gripping objects and releasing the objects into a container. Babies enjoy scribbling spontaneously with crayons and building block towers. To encourage scribbling, use a Magna Doodle, Aqua Doodle or sidewalk chalk. To promote putting items into a container, use pots or a coffee can that will make interesting sounds as your child drops items into the container. Most babies will be using a mature pincer grasp (thumb and index finger, pad to pad) by 18 months. Other skills at this age include pointing with index finger, holding and drinking from cup and uses of hands to remove socks.

18 – 24 months: This is when fine motor skills are being refined. By age 2, your toddler is making circular scribbles and imitating vertical lines. Most 2 year olds can build a tower of 3 to 4 blocks, turn pages two to three at a time in a book, place pegs into a pegboard, open doors using knobs and manipulate shapes and large puzzle pieces.

As a parent, you need to keep in mind that these are guidelines. Some children may perform skills sooner or later than expected. It is important to be aware of developmental milestones and discuss any concerns with your child’s pediatrician.

 
Posted by Main Line Health on 4/3/2013 9:30:16 AM
Read more articles about: Riddle_Hospital, Pediatrics

Your Child's Fine Motor Milestones

Motor-Skills-Milestones.jpgBy: Barbara Hetherington, Occupational Therapist, Riddle Hospital

When your baby is born, you count their little fingers and toes. What you may not know is that soon their tiny hands will become tools for exploring their new environment outside the womb. It is exciting to watch your baby first notice their hands and then eventually use them to play with a toy, finger feed self and some day draw you a picture.

Below are some basic fine motor milestones your child should be achieving in their first two years.

0 – 3 months: Early on your baby becomes aware of their hands. This is when babies learn to open and shut their hands and bring their hands to their mouths. They begin to grasp objects with their hands. You may notice your baby taking swipes at or reaching for dangling objects. To increase hand awareness, after a bath massage your baby’s hands with lotion and rub them together. To promote grasping, use rattles with slender handles, teethers or your finger.

3 – 6 months: During these months, babies hand movements become more purposeful. Babies will reach out for and grab objects and manipulate toys and other objects with their hands. To promote early reaching tap your baby’s hand with a toy to encourage reaching. Encourage reaching with both hands by nuzzling your baby’s tummy with your face to promote touching of your head with both their arms. During bath time, drop toys in the water to make a splash. This encourages purposeful release of objects.

6 – 9 months: During this time, babies learn to bring their hands to midline and clap. Babies enjoy playing games such as patty cake and peek-a-boo. This is a time to encourage reaching with one hand. Have baby reach for small toys and large toys to encourage two handed reach. Playing with bubbles is another fun way to encourage reaching.

9 – 12 months: In these last few months of your baby’s first year, Babies use a pincer grasp to feed self or hold small objects. A pincer grasp means holding the food or object between their thumb and index finger. To promote picking up small objects, use cooked pasta or cheerios. Offer the food towards the thumb side of your baby’s hand.

12 – 18 months: At this age, your baby is usually favoring use of one hand. When looking at books, your baby will be pointing to pictures. He or she will be gripping objects and releasing the objects into a container. Babies enjoy scribbling spontaneously with crayons and building block towers. To encourage scribbling, use a Magna Doodle, Aqua Doodle or sidewalk chalk. To promote putting items into a container, use pots or a coffee can that will make interesting sounds as your child drops items into the container. Most babies will be using a mature pincer grasp (thumb and index finger, pad to pad) by 18 months. Other skills at this age include pointing with index finger, holding and drinking from cup and uses of hands to remove socks.

18 – 24 months: This is when fine motor skills are being refined. By age 2, your toddler is making circular scribbles and imitating vertical lines. Most 2 year olds can build a tower of 3 to 4 blocks, turn pages two to three at a time in a book, place pegs into a pegboard, open doors using knobs and manipulate shapes and large puzzle pieces.

As a parent, you need to keep in mind that these are guidelines. Some children may perform skills sooner or later than expected. It is important to be aware of developmental milestones and discuss any concerns with your child’s pediatrician.

 
Posted by Main Line Health on 4/3/2013 9:30:16 AM
Read more articles about: Riddle_Hospital, Pediatrics
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