Here are some things The Adult and Child Therapy recommend you keep an eye out for in your child’s first year of school:
- 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 /Close their own Lunchboxes
- Cutting – get them to snip rather than cutting long pieces of paper
We would advise parents to allow their children as much independence where possible by
- Encouraging them to zip 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, so it is not causing too much stress in the morning time.
- Brushing their teeth
- Combing their hair (not always easy if your child has long hair but where possible).
If your child does receive homework in Junior infants, it is advisable to 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 if they are under-stimulated when they come in from school. This can help to stimulate and help them concentrate before asking them to come to the table to complete their homework. If your child seems overstimulated when they come in from school, then the opposite would apply to allow them to sit and watch telly for a couple of minutes to relax them and then once they have had 10-15 mins downtime ask them to come to the table to complete the homework. At this age, a small reward could be offered for completion of their work.
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 the colouring. These can be signs that they may struggle with handwriting development and can cause children to have a dislike from doing their work as its difficult for them. Teachers will be a great source of information on this when Parent-Teacher meetings come around in October/November time. If they are having difficulty, an OT can help with this.
For more information on these services and workshops; Visit their website: www.adultandchildtherapy.ie
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