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The importance of a pincer grasp for young children

What is a pincer grasp?

A pincer grasp is  a developmental milestone which allows a child to pick up small objects with their thumb and forefinger. It normally develops between the ages of 9-12 months.

What happens if children don’t have a good pincer grasp?

Children who have an immature grasp will find it difficult to play with small toys such as blocks and beads. They may also struggle to independently complete self care tasks such as dressing (clasping buttons, zips and laces) and eating with cutlery. It will also effect their fine motor development in the lead up to school. Children with a weak pincer grasp may find it difficult to control a pencil for drawing or cut out shapes.

How to develop the pincer grasp

At about 12 months of age, babies start to pick up small items using their thumb and forefinger. This is when they start using the pincer grip.

When children play with toys that need to be squeezed, pushed together or pulled apart they strengthen the tiny muscles in their hands. They use these muscles for more sophisticated skills later on such as feeding themselves, dressing themselves, for painting and colouring, tying their shoes and many other activities.

By the time your little one starts school it’s important that they can hold a pencil to draw and write using a strong ‘pincer grasp’.

My child doesn’t have a good pincer grasp

If you are concerned about your child’s handwriting, then speak to an Occupational Therapist. The Occupational Therapists here at OneOnOne Children’s Therapy believe that correctly issues as early as possible leads to much better outcomes for the child. You can call us on (02) 80657837 or email us at info@oneononechildren.com.au.

Here are some activities where your child can use everyday household items to strengthen their pincer grasp. Remind them to “pinch” the objects using their thumb and pointer finger. If your child continues to have difficulties with their pincer development please speak to your occupational therapist.

If you are concerned that your  child is having difficulty with their pincer grasp, then call our Occupational Therapists at our Bondi Junction clinic. We are in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and can be reached on (02) 8065787 or at info@oneononechildren.com.au. Our Occupational Therapists would love to talk to you about your concerns. They can book your child in for an assessment and help them develop hand dominance to build better motor skills.

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