How to Understand a Child’s Hand-Eye Coordination


Watch your young child try to close a zipper on her jacket and you’ll soon realize how very difficult this task is for small, uncoordinated hands. Such a task requires a great deal of hand-eye control, a skill your child may not have fully acquired by the time she reaches school. Your child improves with practice, so make sure to give her plenty of opportunities. However, your child will be limited by her stage of physical development.

The acquisition of hand-eye (visual-motor) coordination occurs gradually, in the following sequence:

3 months

Control over hand movements is basic and only begins to emerge. Your child may bring her hands together very suddenly, almost as though she doesn’t know how she did it.

6 months

Rather than put toys straight into her mouth as she did when she was younger, your child can now manipulate them more purposefully. She may shake them, throw them, or even bang them against the side of her crib to make noise.

9 months

Your child exhibits the first signs of mature finger control. When your child is sitting in her high chair, put a small piece of cereal on her tray, so that she can clearly see it. You’ll notice that she uses her thumb and forefin­ger together in a pincer movement to lift the item to her mouth.

12 months

Your child’s thumb and forefinger pincer movement is better coordinated. She may even be able to hold a crayon firmly enough to make a mark on a piece of paper.

18 months

Place a pile of small (about one-inch) build­ing blocks in front of your child, and start to build a small tower, one block on top of the other. Your child will imitate you and may be able to build a tower of up to three blocks before it topples.

2 years

Your child’s hand-eye coordination has developed to the point where she can build a tower of at least six or seven blocks, before it topples. Hand preference has probably been established by this age, and your child can pick up small objects with ease.

3 years

Your child can grip a pair of child’s scissors, with their specially shaped handles, but may have a problem cutting with them. She will also have improved pencil control and can make a good attempt at copying a circle.

4 years

Hand-eye coordination has developed to the extent that your child can use a pair of scis­sors capably to cut paper and can manage to thread some small beads onto a thread.

5 years

By this age, your child is probably able to manage large-sized plastic zippers, with your help. However, a couple more years will probably pass before she is completely confident with them.

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About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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