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Pooler Magazine

How Muscle Strengthening Affects Fine Motor Skills

How Muscle Strengthening Affects Fine Motor Skills 

There are several aspects of child development that many of us take for granted. Some children develop right on time as they should, where others seem to struggle to keep up.

Fine motor skills is a term we use to refer to the ability to make movements using the small muscles in our hands, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, lips and tongue. These skills are are required to master activities such as using scissors or pencils, building with lego or duplo blocks and even dressing (zippers, fasteners, buttons, tying shoes, etc)

For children to have good fine motor control, they must have a good base of support. In occupational therapy, we often use the phrase “proximal stability for distal mobility.” This means that the larger joints and muscles must be stable to provide a good solid base for precise movements at the joints further away from the body like the hands and fingers.

For example, if you observe your child sticking their elbow out when coloring or cutting, this could be a sign of weakness in the shoulder girdle that is affecting their fine motor skills. Difficulties with shoulder stability may also be seen with problems with tying shoes, manipulating small objects, using two hands during play, or handwriting difficulties.

Here are a few ways to help build strength at home to improve fine motor skills:

  • Do animal walks, wheelbarrow walks, pushing/pulling weighted objects, monkey bars, or chin ups/pull ups
  • Practice writing, coloring, or crafts on a vertical surface. This allows the force of gravity to help strengthen shoulder muscles as well as improving wrist stability.
  • Complete activities on your belly like watching a movie, reading, or playing games. This promotes weight bearing through the upper extremities and help develop strength.
  • Tossing a balloon or beach ball and hitting it back either with hands or a racket.

Please contact Chatterbox Pediatric Therapy if you feel like your child is struggling at home or school to complete these tasks. Our Occupational Therapists will evaluate your child and provide the necessary recommendations your child needs to succeed.

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Pooler, GA 31322
2453 G Hwy 17 South
Richmond Hill, GA 31324