Dr. Anne Zachry

occupational therapist & child development specialist

Fine Motor Skill Development

Fine motor skills are the way that we use our fingers and hands to manipulate small objects. They are very important when a child goes to school and it’s time to work with pencils, crayons, and scissors. However, fine motor skills begin to develop long before school age. At around 3 months old, babies begin to use their hands to grasp objects and their arms to swipe. Between 9 and 12 months of age, most infants can pick up a small object with the thumb and index finger, which is called an inferior pincer grasp. When an infant uses the tips of the thumb and index finger to grasp a tiny object, this is called a superior pincer grasp. 

Inferior Pincer Grasp

At two years of age, a little one can color with whole arm movement and holds a crayon in a fisted position with the thumb facing upward. By age 4, most children can imitate a cross and trace a diamond and a triangle, and by age 5 they can hold a pencil with 3 fingers, which is called a tripod grasp. This is the optimal grasp to have when writing, although there are others that are acceptable. Hand dominance is typically established by this age as well. 

Tripod Penci Grasp

    Reference: Pediatric OT Tips Blog

    Sleep Problems Solved: Get Cool Koala Child-Friendly Bedtime Meditations!!!

    It can be challenging, and sometimes nearly impossible, to get your kids to fall asleep quickly and get a good night’s rest. Now, there is a solution to this problem! Cool Koala, created by music therapist Ryan Judd, is a program of relaxing, engaging, bedtime meditation sessions. Ryan’s intuitive and deliberate approach to his work with children is evident in this amazing product. Every evening, your child will have access to a unique, child-friendly guided meditation. With fun characters like Cool Koala, Busy Beaver, and Cranky Cat, your child will look forward to relaxing and going to bed. Not only will your nighttime routine go more smoothly, but your child will also gain skills that will help them relax, focus, and find peace on a day-to-day basis moving forward. I highly recommend Cool Koala Meditations!

    To learn more about Ryan Judd, visit his website, The Rhythm Tree!

    How to Get Ready for Kindergarten

    Parents frequently ask me what their child needs to do to get ready for kindergarten. I like to share this list of 25 “readiness” skills that kindergarten teachers have told me are important for a child to be successful in the kindergarten classroom.

    Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

    1)    Speaks in complete sentences

    2)    Listens without interrupting

    3)    Follows two-step directions

    4)    Begins to share with others

    5)    Is able to recognize authority

    6)    Understands concepts such as “top,” “bottom,” “big,” “little,” “more,” “less”

    7)    Able to follow basic rules

    8)    Recognizes rhyming words

    9)    Identifies some alphabet letters

    10) Bathrooms independently

    11) Button shirts, pants, coats, and zips up zippers

    12) Can sort objects that are the same shape, color, or size

    13) Recognizes and names at least 5 colors

    14) Recognizes own first name in print

    15) Recognizes letters in own first and last name

    16) Begins to write some of the letters in own first name

    17) Cuts with scissors

    18) Trace basic shapes

    19) Draws a line, circle, X and +

    20) Works simple puzzles

    21) Counts from 1 to 10 in correct order

    22) Identifies the beginning sound of some words (C is for cat)

    23) Runs, jumps, hops, throws, catches, and bounces a ball

    24) Knows first and last name of parents

    25) Adjust to new situations without parents being there

    So get ready for kindergarten by practicing these skills with your preschooler and your little one will have a much smoother transition into school!

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