“Children spell love…T-I-M-E.” – Dr. Anthony P. Witham
Speak to most moms and dads, and they’ll tell you that time is a scarce commodity. Too many hours are spent at the office, sitting in traffic, shopping for groceries and clearing inboxes. There’s hardly a spare moment to sit down to a family dinner, let alone spend an hour playing hide-and-seek or painting a picture with your toddler or pre-schooler.
Perhaps you’ve recently welcomed a new baby into your family and you’re struggling to give your firstborn or older children the one-on-one time they’re craving.
As modern parents, it is so easy to fall into the routine of letting our kids spend hours in front of a screen (be it a television, smartphone or tablet) and not spending enough time engaging in good, old-fashioned fun with them. When last did you bake cupcakes, get messily creative with sand and glitter, or create a collage with your kids?
One of the most important ways we can help our children is by engaging them in fun activities that facilitate the development of their fine motor skills. These involve the small muscles of the body, especially those in the fingers, hands and wrists. Young children need to strengthen these muscles in order to hold scissors and use pencils appropriately when they enter the classroom. They also need them when buttoning a shirt, tying laces, opening a juice bottle and so forth.
Chantel Nortje, a Paediatric Neurodevelopmental Physiotherapist, recommends that parents take a little time out of their busy schedules to play with their kids in a meaningful way.
“I encourage people to slow down and really invest in the process of their child’s development and spending time playing with them, rather than trying to get ahead as fast as possible. Taking it a little slower and spending time will help your child to lay down really solid foundations that they can build on successfully in years to come. By engaging in activities aimed at particular areas of motor development, families can help children learn and cope with the ever-increasing expectations placed on them at school, while having fun at the same time,” says Nortje.
If you’re looking for fun activities that help to develop children’s fine motor skills, the Tower kids website is a great place to start.
“I have used a variety of the Tower Kids © products during my therapy sessions, including the sand art and foam mosaic to name a few, as a good way of strengthening children’s hand and finger muscles and developing fine motor skills,” Nortje adds.
For more information, ideas and inspiration, visit http://www.towerproducts.co.za/.