You may have seen during the ultrasound, as the future baby clings to the umbilical cord with a pen. In nature, the grasping reflex is the salvation for monkeys. With the approach of danger, the baby hangs under mom under the belly, clinging tightly to the fur with all four “hands”.
This unconditioned reflex is also very strong in a newborn person. If you touch his palm lightly, he will squeeze hard.
But the proper functioning of the hands is ensured by the whole organism, and first of all its main computer – the brain.
According to some studies, the right and left hemispheres of the brain, controlling hand movements, complement each other. Right allows the baby to recognize objects with the help of touch.
The same hemisphere is responsible for orientation in space: the ability to determine one’s own position in relation to objects, to distinguish between right and left, to realize what is in front and what is behind.
The left hemisphere provides a more subtle process of analysis and synthesis of information and is responsible for the accuracy of movements. Thanks to his work, a person masters fine motor skills – the ability to pick up a needle from the floor.
But, in order to properly train the arm, the crumbs need to simultaneously control their muscle tone, and therefore gradually learn to relax the hand, elbow and shoulder. It is also necessary to take into account the development of his motor abilities: starting to hold the head, the child tries to coordinate the movement of his hands with what he sees (this is called hand-eye coordination). Then the kid learns to control the movements of the torso.
And only being in an upright position, will be able to improve their grasping abilities.
When communicating, the child begins to use his hands to supplement imperfect speech for the time being: he points to the object in order to receive it and that the adults call this object. Within two months, the child touches everything in order to collect as many different sensations as possible that inform him about the properties of the objects. So he learns that there are soft and hard surfaces, that the water flows, and the paper breaks.
Sorting information, the kid, naturally endowed with memory and the ability to think logically, builds and improves cognitive patterns.
Improving the prehensile function of the hands occurs in stages, as well as mental development. In newborns, one can observe only a grasping reflex. In the limbs, muscle tone is especially high, and in newly born children, the cams are tightly compressed.
During the first three months, the “grasping reflex” weakens, and the palms gradually unfold.
The three-month-old baby gradually begins to coordinate the movements of the arms with the gaze. At one point, the pens are accidentally in the field of view of the baby, and he fixes attention on them.
Gradually, he begins to hold their eyes on them for a long time. These are the first steps in the development of visual-motor coordination.
Between three and four months, the baby deliberately puts the hands to the mouth. Starting from the fourth month, he is trying to take the item that is offered to him.
And although hand-eye coordination is still too imperfect for a child to reach out for a certain distance, at this age a baby can take a rattle if it is put directly in the handle. While awkward, the development of wrist grasping is still in the initial stage, and the kid squeezes the object between the palm and the last three fingers.
Between 6 and 9 months, the child learns to sit. So, it takes the most convenient position, which allows him to see the desired object and pull the handles towards him consciously and precisely.
Thanks to the newly acquired mobility and flexibility in the shoulders and elbows, he already manages to hold the object between the thumb and little finger.
At 6–7 months, the child is already able to shift the rattle from one hand to the other. And by eight months he enjoys the noise of toys that he throws.
From now on, he can not only take and firmly squeeze an object, but also loosen the handle (which is more difficult!) To throw the toy.
At 9-10 months, the baby can hold the object between the thumb and forefinger. From this moment real sleight of hand begins to develop.
Fine motor skills of the child will progress very quickly, as he will be able to take smaller and smaller items with more and more precise gestures.
By the year, thanks to the abundant practice, the crumb confidently holds in his hand any object, he can pull one toy out of another, put it back, fold it into a pile, push it away, pull it, shake it, throw it, clap it. He begins to develop a strategy of action, for example, to make something rattle.
Between 12 and 15 months, cerebral impulses become thinner. The baby reaches sufficient neurological maturity, which allows its pens to act independently of each other.
Such a mechanism requires good coordination of movements.
By 18 months, the child can already fold objects into a container, build a tower of three cubes, draw doodles with a pencil, turn the pages in a book. His fingers begin to work independently of each other, and the pens are already so nimble that he can eat and drink himself.
At this age, the baby can even unscrew or screw something and already holds a pencil in his hand.
From two to three years old baby is able to put on socks on his own, put on shoes, get dressed and even unbutton his clothes. Closer to kindergarten, he will learn how to hold scissors: a sheet of paper in one hand, scissors in the other.
But the coordination of movements will be improved up to the school.
In the first months, bring the toy straight to the palm (until full contact). Put the toy away from the child so that he has to reach for it. If he can’t get it, move the toy closer, put it right in front of him.
And so on both sides so that both hands develop.
Give the kid a toy with a rope tied to it, let him find out that by pulling the rope, you can pull the toy to him. This is a strategy.
In the first months, bring the toy close to the baby’s face. Let him keep his eyes on a shiny, ringing or colored object.
After 8 months, give the child paper and paint, let him draw colorful lines on a white sheet. Play with the sand (a bucket in one hand, a scoop in the other).
Use containers that can be filled and emptied (with one hand to hold, with the other to put or remove something).
Paint each of his fingers in a different color, and let the kid try to “mix up” the colors by interlacing the fingers.
Draw the figures on the tip of each finger and play with them in the “puppet”. Let the child translate the arrows on the big clock or dial the number on the phone dial.