The advances in mobile devices and the increasing access to these devices by ever younger children, has led to the appearance of a new phenomenon. Every year teachers are noticing that more and more children have trouble holding a pen or pencil in their hands. While this is an apparently simple operation, it is closely connected with the motor skills developed by children in their early stages of development, and many children have difficulties with performing it correctly. However do these skills have anything to do with the child’s performance at school? Let us take a look at what specialists have to say about this.
Over the past few years, specialists have tried to see if there is any connection between the fine motor skills developed in the first years of childhood and the later performances of children at school. Apparently, there is a definite connection. They found that fine motor skills can predict the performance of a child during the school years. This type of association first emerged back in 2010, when it was believed that these skills could forecast the performance of a child in maths and reading.
Why are fine motor skills such a good predictor when it comes to doing well in school? It appears that the way the neurons are connected, learning processes based on personal experiences, and experiences gained inside the classroom all play a part. From a neurological point of view, the pre-frontal cortex takes care of both cognitive and motor-skills development. This is why children who develop a greater level of fine motor skills in their pre-school years will end up having better performances in school. Besides this, children who develop these skills, with the help of drawing and attempting to write in their early years, will be able to focus better during classes. This is because children with better fine motor skills are more comfortable with the task of writing, for example, and are capable of investing more resources into paying attention to what is happening around them. Therefore, they will absorb more of the information provided by the teacher and have better results in learning. After all, if you think about it, a child who already knows how to write down numbers will be able to learn them faster, instead of investing all of their energy and attention into learning how to write the numbers first.
So, if you are the parent of a young child or preparing to become a parent, do bear in mind that fine motor skills are more important than you may think. To develop your child's fine motor skills you should really encourage them to learn to use their hands with play-dough and other toys, and to draw and write during the early years of childhood. Don’t let the child use mobile devices too much, and if a child does use these devices, offer them apps specifically created to develop these skills. Using mobile devices too much, even if it is for innocent games, can seriously impair a child’s fine motor skills, which can translate into poor school performances later on.
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