Coordination Skills

coordination skills that kids need to develop

Whether playing games, taking part in sport or doing schoolwork, coordination skills are important for your child.

Coordination usually refers to whether a child can get the arms and legs to work together in a coordinated, effective way.

In addition, many tasks which require coordinated movement also require the child to have good motor planning to time their movements accurately.

To get your child ready for school, there are 2 types of gross motor coordination that are are particularly important: bilateral coordination and hand-eye coordination.

Bilateral Coordination Skills

Bilateral Coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body together in a coordinated way. This girl is pulling herself up a rope using both hands in a coordinated way.

Children with poor bilateral integration may struggle with gross motor games or with fine motor tasks which require both hands to work together well.

Examples include jumping, skipping, cutting with scissors, using a knife and fork, and tying shoelaces.

The following pages on my site contain helpful info and photographed activities to help your child develop this skill:

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Hand Eye Coordination

This is the ability of the eyes to guide the hands in movement.

Catching a ball and being able to hit a ball with a bat are obvious examples, but many parents don’t realize that good hand-eye coordination can also help a child’s handwriting.

Children need eye-hand coordination to guide their pencil between the lines and ensure their letters don’t go over the lines or touch each other.

Hand-eye coordination also forms the foundation for visual-motor integration, which helps kids learn to form letters and develop flowing handwriting

The following pages on my site contain helpful info and photographed activities to help your child develop this skill:

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Tips To Help Your Child Develop Coordination Skills

Helping your child work on his/her gross motor coordination abilities does not have to be too hard.

Just choose a couple of activities from the pages on my site, or from the wider selection in my e-books, and get started.

  • Give lots of encouragement and praise good attempts, even if they are not perfect. “You almost did it, well done!” “That was much better!” “Today is even better than yesterday!” “That was a good try!”
  • If your child struggles, then see if you can make the activity easier, or drop it, and try something different next time, coming back to the difficult activity in a week or two.
  • Look at your family’s daily routine and weekly routine. Each family is different and you need to decide what works best for you.
  • Daily routine: is there a time of day when it is generally possible for you to focus on your child for 10 minutes? After breakfast if you homeschool? After a rest time in the afternoon? Between bath and bed? Can you make a 10-minute break in the homework routine in the afternoon? Are there any exercises you can make a regular part of family outings, family life?

  • Weekly Routine: Which afternoon are you usually home without extra-mural activities? Or can you head for the playpark while you wait for your other child to finish extra-murals? What about Saturdays before chores?

Remember that incorporating gross motor exercises into your family’s life has wonderful long-term benefits!

Don't forget to look at other ways of improving your child’s general fitness levels and other gross motor skills, such as swimming, playing catch, cycling and walking on the beach.

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Related Pages

You may find these related articles helpful or interesting:

Gross motor resources from OT Mom

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