What are Fine Motor Skills?

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What are Fine Motor Skills?
Fine motor skills are movements that involve smaller muscles of the body, particularly the muscles in the hand which we use for activities like writing, grasping, and others. Those that involve bigger muscles and bigger movements are called gross motor skills. Smaller activities involving the muscles of the toes and the tongue are also considered part of fine motor skills.

Both gross and fine motor skills are developed as a baby grows older. Though not necessarily synchronized with each other, a baby’s development can be monitored through different milestones when it comes to his movement skills. Early on babies may be able to roll over and lay on his/her belly. This particular movement involves gross motor skills. But at about the same time, the baby will also start to develop and improve his/her fine motor skills by grasping and playing with objects. When a baby is able to move around, he/she will be able to encounter more objects and gain finer movement skills along the way. Simple grasping then leads to even finer movements like being able to put small toys in a hole. As the child grows up, he will be taught more fine movements to gain some independence. These fine movements may include unbuttoning of shirts, putting on socks, or tying shoelaces.

Fine motor skills are also synonymous with the term “dexterity”, especially when the small hand movements are involved. It is important that these small movements are mastered as the child grows because these movements are essential for independence and more complicated movements as he/she gets older. At school age, children are taught finer motor skills like writing and drawing. And by this time, many are expected to be a little more independent in terms of dressing and undressing and/or tying and untying of shoe laces. All these skills acquired at childhood will help the child in many ways later on in life. Other than personal care activities, fine motor skills will be helpful in school, at work, and at home.

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