Fine Motor Skills in Toddlers

There are so many different pieces of Cooper’s delays that I often just lump them together because I get so overwhelmed when I think about each part individually. But now that Sawyer is here and developing on a typical path I can’t believe how many things I should have noticed.

Cooper met all of his beginning milestones right on time and because he met all of these milestones on time I really didn’t pay attention to the rest.  Holding his head up, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, walking and then running all came right on time.  Now, looking back,  I see that Cooper struggled with his fine motor skills from day one. Fine motor skills are the smaller type of movements you make with your fingers, wrists, hands, feet, toes, tongue and lips while gross motor skills are the bigger movements such as sitting up and rolling over.  Cooper’s dad struggled with his fine motor skills as well and in some ways that relieves me because they in no way affect him now. His mom still talks about how she had to button his shirts until he was in middle school.

Fine Motor Delays

  1. PointingCooper: Cooper pointed on time but in his own way. He would use his whole hand to point. And once he started pointing with one finger he would often switch between pointing with his pointer finger and his thumb. I asked his Occupational Therapist about this and she said it takes less muscle, coordination and effort to point with your thumb.
  2. Hand Movements in Songs: Cooper loves The Itsy Bitsy Spider song and Patty Cake. We sing songs daily and I noticed that he could never do hand motions.
  3. Squeeze Pouch Foods: Still to this day Cooper can’t use squeeze pouches. Think yogurt or applesauce. He doesn’t have enough hand strength to squeeze them.
  4. Bowls with lids: Cooper just learned how to eat snacks out of a bowl with a lid. I remember Cooper was sitting next to a little girl his same age a year or so ago and they were both eating out of these bowls. Coops got frustrated and threw his because he couldn’t get the snacks out. Take a look at him now! No problems!
  5. Signing: Cooper picked up signs well but really struggled to differentiate between similar signs. For example ball and cookie are very similar. To him, these would all be the same.
  6. Throwing a ball: Cooper loves to throw. I would say it ranks right up there with trains. And he has an amazing arm on him. We were never surprised by this because Coop’s dad was a baseball pitcher all through college. And we hope that Cooper follows in his footsteps. But we noticed that Cooper never transitioned to throwing overhand. He still at age 3 throws sidearm.
  7. Silverware: Cooper uses a spoon ok to well. Forks are a no go.
  8. Pencils: Cooper can’t use a pencil in any way and I am super worried about it. I know he just turned 3 but I just wish this was easier for him.

In all honestly, I try not to worry about his fine motor delays. I feel like there are so many other bigger issues that need my energy and focus. And these skills seem to come in their own time. For me, I was way more worried about his jumping delay. Cooper didn’t jump until a few months shy of his 3rd birthday. Once he mastered jumping he never stopped.



2 thoughts on “Fine Motor Skills in Toddlers

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