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Video:Teaching Your Child to Use Scissors

with Kathy Moore

Being able to use scissors is a good benchmark for measuring fine motor skill development in your child. These simple instructions will help you teach your children how to safely use scissors.See Transcript

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Transcript:Teaching Your Child to Use Scissors

Hi, I am Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Developing mastery of fine motor skill is an important milestone of childhood. Being able to use a pair of scissors is a good benchmark for measuring fine motor skill development in your child. This program will offer tips and ideas on how to get your child cutting safely with scissors.

Children and Scissor Size

Begin by choosing a pair of scissors that is the appropriate size for your child's hand. Demonstrate the proper grasping technique for your child by placing your thumb middle and ring fingers in the handles of the scissors. Place your index finger on the outside of the handle to stabilize the scissors and offer a better grip. Then, just curl the pinky finger into your palm.

Choose Easy Objects to Cut

Once your child can properly hold the scissors, give her some sturdy paper to cut. We use those annoying magazine subscription cards to practice on. You can use construction paper, junk mail or anything that is fairly sturdy but not too hard to cut. Sometimes we practice by cutting up plastic straws or even play dough.

Try Hand Muscle Exercises

If your child seems frustrated, do not give up. Just change the activity. Try making a game to music using finger puppets, focusing on the thumb, index and middle fingers. Scissors can even become a talking puppet. Cut nothing, but open and close the blades in a pattern - slow and fast, wide and skinny. These activities will help train your child's muscles.

Scissors and Safety

Using scissors should always be a supervised activity that is done while sitting. Because scissors seem like such a grown-up tool, my kids are really careful with scissors. To reinforce the safety aspect I also teach my kids how to properly hold a scissors while walking. For this lesson I use a technique I learned when I was in kindergarten. To do this, I have my child close her fist around the closed scissors blades. Then we march around the kitchen or living room holding our scissors safely. Teaching this custom will prevent injury if the child falls while walking with the scissors.

Teaching your kids to properly hold and use a pair of scissors helps develop the same muscles needed to correctly grasp a pencil, a skill they will use the rest of their lives. Plus, it is fun. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at parenting.about.com.
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