One of the parenting lessons I have received is the importance of drawing and painting for young children – they are amongst the most important basic skills they will learn. It’s not just the visual exploration and adventure that aids their inquisitive, sponge-like minds, but something many first-time parents will encounter for the first time – fine motor skills.
The ablity to hold and master that crayon or pencil is key in mastering the fine skills of writing and drawing. So much so that it can hold back their classroom progress; the slower their writing, the longer they take to complete tasks and assignments. Not to mention that being the last to finish is never fun.
Whether boys or girls, it’s exercise that will help children develop the core muscles that enable them to accomplish these skills. Monkey bars – similar to the play going on below right, is a brilliant activity from as soon as you’re able. I used to hold my boy’s legs from about two years while he held the bars. He was a regular gibbon on the bars by the time he was five.
However it’s not something you can give up – if in a situation where they are not exposed to regular exercise that works their core and their finger and hand strength, it will be quickly lost. As they grow older, sports like rugby, cricket and baseball can help greatly. Make the effort, however tired you feel, it’s so very worth it, speaking to their development and self-esteem, while keeping them away from the TV and various devices we have attached to ourselves.