Muscle control is an individual’s ability to control and direct their muscle movements, therefore small muscle control is an individual’s ability to control and direct their small muscle movements. Sometimes small muscle control is also referred to as fine muscle control. For the most part, small/fine muscles are those in the hands and fingers. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about children and small muscle control.
Why Is Small Muscle Control Important?
Small muscle control is important because there are many everyday tasks that require dexterity. Writing, cutting, and tying shoe laces are just a few of the activities that require small muscle control. Without small muscle control modern living would be difficult.
Which Activities Require Small Muscle Control?
Many activities require small muscle control to be completed successfully. Writing, cutting and tying shoe laces have already been mentioned, but typing, using a knife and fork, colouring, folding paper, using game controls and even doodling all require small muscle control as well. Cooking and sewing are also areas in which small muscle control is important too.
How Is Small Muscle Control Developed?
Small muscle control can be developed by practice. For example, the more a child writes his or her name the more confident (s)he will become in forming the letters and writing legible. In the same vein, the more a child ties his or her shoe laces the more skilled (s)he will become at making loops and knots. The same goes for any activity that requires small muscle control – the more the activity is practiced, the greater small muscle control will be.
Is Small Muscle Control Affected By Handedness?
Handedness, or whether a child shows more comfort using their left or right hand, does not necessarily affect small muscle control other than in the sense that the hand that is favoured usually develops greater small muscle control than the one that is not used as often. Children sometimes show a preference for a certain hand as early as age two, though by school age the preferred hand will be more easily recognised and consistent. Some children never show a preference for one hand and continue to develop the small muscles in both hands relatively equally. Such children are said to be ambidextrous.
How Can Small Muscle Control Be Encouraged?
Small muscle control can be encouraged both through practice of particular activities as well as throughout smaller toys that require manipulation by the child. For example, playing with Legos requires a child’s hands to grasp, twist and push the pieces, among other things. Construction sets, puzzles and miniatures all require similar actions from the child involved. Snapping snaps, fitting buttons, playing with zippers, and lacing laces also encourage small muscle control in children.
What About Children Lacking Small Muscle Control?
There is no standard which children must meet in order to be “good” at controlling their small muscles. In fact, it is often not until they go to nursery or school that children truly begin to make advances in developing their small muscle control. However, if it is feared that children are lacking small muscle control then discussing the issue with the child’s doctor or teacher is a good idea.