Fine motor skill delay (1165)

Key points below

What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills are needed to handle small objects, or do detailed work with your hands and fingers. Examples are writing, drawing, using scissors, buttoning shirts, tying shoes and stringing beads.

What is a delay and what causes it?

Most often, children learn fine motor skills around a certain age. When they are not able to do these skills around that age, it is called a delay. Delays may be caused by weak hand muscles.

What can be done?

Exercises can help children strengthen their hands and improve control. You can do many of these exercises at home with your child. A therapist will recommend the best ones for your child and teach you how to do them. Some are listed here.

Hand strength activities

These include thumb and finger grasping or pinching:

Many of the items used in these exercises are small and may be choking hazards. Watch your child closely when they are doing their exercises. Put the small items out of reach when not doing the exercises.

In-hand manipulation skills

- Put three to four of the items in the palm of your child’s hand. Have your child grab each item from their palm with their fingertips.

Scissor skills

Always watch your child when they are using scissors. Use children’s scissors with rounded tips. Position your child’s hand with the thumb up.

Handwriting skills

ALERT: Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.