A newborn baby does not really care if the hands are his own, he thinks of them as other objects around him. Infants perceive seeing and touching as separate activities till about they are 6 months of age. It is only after some time that babies realise they can use their eyes to direct and hands to execute a particular task. Newborn babies make this discovery when they start relating motion and noise with the movement of the hands. However, developing hand-eye co-ordination is a massive milestone of the first year of life, as this skill will enable your little one to explore the world fully.
Importance of Hand-eye Coordination
Hand-eye coordination is characterized as the ability of the vision to properly coordinate with hands. The information perceived by your eyes is correctly transmitted to hands in order to do a given or assigned job correctly for example catching a ball or writing. Good hand-eye coordination is the outcome of correct attention of eyes and proper execution by hands. It is very important for performing daily activities properly.
How to Encourage Hand-eye Coordination In Babies
A proper coordination between hand and eye is extremely important for performing many life skills such as writing and eating. Newborns exhibit the ability to grasp everything that comes within the reach of their tiny hands. It is seems to be an innate habit.
Keeping in mind the importance of hand-eye coordination movement, it becomes all the more important to learn the ways to encourage the development of these vital skills in kids.
Tips To Develop Hand-eye Coordination In Baby
Playing is a simple and easy technique to help baby learn how to grab and reach the objects. The below tips can be helpful to develop hand-eye coordination in babies:
- Some parents shake plastic keys or rattle to attract child’s attention and to encourage him/her to grab it
- Wrist rattles are also very useful in promoting the hand-eye coordination. They make noise as the baby shakes hand and this titillates him/her. Your baby enjoys shaking the wrist and hears the noise. This enhances the gross motor skills of your baby. It is a very good practice for your little baby
- You can also use wooden or plastic blocks when the baby is four or five months old to teach him while playing. You can stack the blocks one over the other and make a tower, now ask your baby to knock it down. This will instill confidence in him and he will learn about the power of his hands. Isn’t that amazing!
- As baby grows he starts putting the grasped things in his mouth. This is the time to be very careful and remove all dangerous things that can cause any choking problem. Keep them out of your baby’s reach. This is a good example of skill progression.
- A more ‘pincer’ grasp is displayed by your baby when he/she picks up small and tiny objects easily. It is as if she is telling you that ‘Look I can pick even the tiniest object with sheer ease and finesse’
Well, these are just a few of the so many activities that you can do to promote the crucial hand-eye coordination skill in your baby. Babies learn maximum while playing. Play is a tutorial for them. So spend some meaningful time with your baby and play with her rattles and blocks. This will not only encourage hand-eye coordination but will also strengthen your bonding with your bundle of joy.
Hand-eye Coordination Activities
You will have to tune the fine motor skills developing after birth, if you intend to improve the hand-eye coordination in your baby.
According to experts, babies are taught simple ways to improve hand-eye coordination when they are as young as 4 months old with the aid of games and toys. Regular practice of this skill will help in performing their daily normal activities.
Here are some simple techniques that you can use to help the development of proper hand-eye coordination in babies
- Color: Give some color pencils or crayons to your child. It is a creative and amazing way to improve hand-eye coordination skills. While coloring the hand and fingers fill the color and the eyes direct them to be in confines of the picture
- Jigsaw puzzle: Putting together a jigsaw puzzle is also a wonderful way to encourage the hand-eye coordination. Your child picks up the jumbled pieces of a picture and then assembles them properly to form the given picture. It is a very useful technique
- Playing a softball: Targeting a softball at the assigned target is also a useful technique to promote the hand-eye coordination. Hands throw the ball while eyes focus the target
- Sports with racquet: Another effective technique is playing sports involving racquet such as ping pong, badminton or lawn tennis
- Craft: Besides outdoor sports, even the indoors games and activities such as craft can also be beneficial in enhancing eye-hand coordination in children. Use blocks, sticks or toothpicks to make a hut or a building. Clay modeling is also good enough
Problems With Inadequate Hand-eye Coordination
The common problems encountered due to inadequate hand-eye coordination in kids are listed as under:
- Vision impairment: Impairment of vision is defined as a loss of ability to see things. It makes you crippled and you find the execution of daily routine activities difficult. Loss of visual acuity is an important cause of visual impairment. The objects appear blurred and clarity of vision is lost. A child with visual impairment finds difficulty in hand-eye coordination and faces problem in emotional, cognitive, neurological and physical development
- Movement disorders: Movement disorders are caused by impaired or disturbed body movements. Ataxia is an example of this impairment which is characterized by loss of coordination while executing voluntary movements. The manifestations of movement disorders are clumsiness, instability or inaccuracy. The movements appear as jerky and not smooth
Consult doctor if your child shows abnormal signs of visual development or inadequate coordination of hands and eyes.