Some Helpful Tips from Michelle our OT for your child starting school
By the time your child is starting school in September they will have been working on their fine and gross motor skills within their preschool/Montessori environment.
Here are some things to keep an eye on:
– Have they got hand dominance so are they eating and drawing with the same hand
– Can they do pre-handwriting shapes such as below
To practice these they don’t have to be done in pen or pencil you can use foam or playdough
– Can they zip up their coats
– Open lunchboxes
– Cutting – get them to snip rather than cutting long pieces of paper
It would be really advisable to start to encourage your child to start zipping up their own coats and start using a lunchbox at home when giving them a snack so they are getting used to opening and closing
– Encourage them to dress themselves – this may involve giving them a little extra time in the morning to complete this.
If you child does receive homework in Junior infants its advisable to maybe encourage a gross motor task before asking them to sit at a table so where possible if they could have a bounce on a trampoline, play a game, jumping up and down for 10 mins and then ask them to come to the table to complete their homework and possibly you may need to offer a small reward only at this age to encourage the table top activity.
If you notice that your child is quite stimulated coming out of school if would be the opposite of above try and let them have at least 15 mins chill time before asking them to come to table to do their homework. Allow them to watch some telly have a little snack and then when you can sense their energy has calmed ask them to come to table .
Keep an eye that they have a close to a tripod grasp as possible.
Notice if your child is struggling to write their name by Christmas they should have mastered a version of this.
Signs of difficulty with handwriting development are swapping hands when using a pencil and avoiding colouring at any cost not just a dislike for arts and crafts but refusing to do colouring. These can be signs that they may struggle we would encourage help from an OT so they do not start to hate the idea of having to use their pencil so always seek advice. Teachers will be a good measure of this also normally a teacher may bring this up at a parent teacher meeting.