Physical development occurs rapidly during the first two years of your little one’s life. That’s why you’ll see him grow at a steady pace. During the first few months, you’ll have the opportunity to witness many changes, not only in weight and size, but also in muscle development. In this article we’ll focus on talking about your child’s hand coordination during the first year of age. This progress will take your son on great adventures and will challenge him to explore what he is capable of, putting into practice his gross and fine motor skills.

As he continues to grow, his fine motor skills will develop and refine. These involve the ability to use small muscles of the body, located in places like hands and fingers; movements that usually lag behind gross motor skills.

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Today we will specifically address hand coordination during the first year, which is a key aspect in the prior foundation of several skills like holding writing tools, bottles, spoons, etc. This skill is frequently accompanied with visual development as well.

What can you expect?

Since birth, children start using their hands as a method to explore their surroundings or even their own bodies. While exploring, your little one is also practicing his fine motor skills, which can lead to improvement in hand movements and strengthening of small muscles. During this first year you will notice the following:

  • Touching: From early on your little one will start touching objects and surfaces. You might even feel his little hand touching you when you cuddle him or during feeding.
  • Grasping: At first it happens when he accidentally comes in contact with the object and tries to grasp it with his hands. This action will continue to develop, at around 9 months he will be able to hold small objects between his thumb and forefinger, and afterwards, at about 10 to 12 months, he might even hold a spoon.
  • Manual manipulation: He may also start manipulating objects with his tiny hands, especially bigger objects.

How can you support his hand coordination development?

  • Encourage your baby to grab objects by placing them in his hands. For example, while you are carrying him, place a scarf on his hand to see if he can grasp it for short periods of time.
  • Talk about the object. You can talk about the color and texture of the object, making it more interesting for him to explore. With this, you’ll also be fostering his language abilities, plus his sensory processing skills, as he feels and recognizes different textures.
  • Rub and touch. Give him a chance to touch different textures. Returning to the example, let him explore the scarf and hold the tag or even grab your hand while doing it, so he can have different muscular and sensorial experiences.
  • Eating. When he is a little bit older, give him a chance to feed himself. It might be a hit and miss at first, but with practice he’ll get better at this hand-eye coordination activity!

Most of all, have fun together and be patient! Fine motor skills usually take longer to develop that gross motor skills, as it goes hand in hand with visual development and muscular control. Let’s keep fostering both!