As well prepared as students are when they arrive in kindergarten, some children are lacking in certain areas of experience. This is not to say, they are unprepared for school.
Instead, some students did not have exposure to specific experiences. Sometimes this is noticeable with delayed social skills, listening to a story, eating on their own, turn taking in a game or even using the playground.
One of the ways we see this lack of experience in kindergarten is when children don’t know how to correctly hold and use a scissor. This is also one of the easiest skills to fix quickly!
When children begin school, while many feel confident, some students feel anxious and insecure. When faced with new experiences that are unfamiliar, they can feel nervous and overwhelmed. Simply introducing your child to many of the activities they will be doing in school helps them feel prepared and more confident.
Does your child need to practice cutting?
If your child is able to hold a scissor correctly and make some snips on paper, that is a great start. Generally, if your child is able to cut on lines to cut out a shape, they are well prepared and won’t need to practice cutting skills. During kindergarten and even in preschool there should be many opportunities to cut.
Using scissors in school is more than just arts & crafts!
Using scissors helps to improve hand strength, small muscle coordination and eye hand coordination. These skills are all important for handwriting skills as well. The stronger your child’s hand muscles, the better for writing. Muscles gained from cutting practice help build pencil control and stamina for handwriting. For a Free 12-page Fine Motor Guide – Click Here!
Giving your child some exposure to certain skills before they start school can do them a world of good. Spending just a little time helping your child practice will make a big difference to boost your child’s skills and confidence at the same time. There is no better motivator for kids than boosting their self esteem!! The smiles on their faces when they learn to do something new are priceless.
Each September, I see some children’s faces when they look around the table and see that all the other children know how to cut except them. These kids may need to go work with a teacher so they can finish their cutting. This can wound them a little if they see other children cutting on their own. Giving your child some practice time with scissors can help avoid this issue.
Setting your child up for Scissor Success!
Buy a pair or two pairs of kid safety scissors, Fiskars and Westcott are some of my favorites. For lots of cutting fun try edging scissors like School Smart or Polaroid, my kids love snipping with these!
Show your child how to hold them correctly- this is when two pairs of scissors helps!
The thumb should go in the small hole and be on the top “by the ceiling”, as we say. Then 2-3 fingers go in the larger opening closer to the table or ground. If your child is a lefty you can buy a pair of lefty scissors- but most kids and adults learn how to efficiently use a righty scissor.
First let your child practice snipping the edge of a paper. Slightly sturdier paper like construction paper or cover stock can often be easier for practice. Copy paper or newspaper is too thin and can be difficult for little children to cut. I like to give kids narrow strips of colored paper to snip into squares. Later, all those little squares can be used to create a mosaic picture, collage or even spell out the letters of their name!
Next, give your child some lines to snip on so that they are aiming to stay on the line. This helps work on eye hand coordination, scissor control and builds hand strength.
As your child gets the hang of cutting, make it more interesting for them. You can then make straight, zig-zag or curvy lines for your child to try. Use different colors so that you can give them specific directions. Try something like this: First cut the curvy red line and then cut the blue zig-zag line. This is a great time to give kids the edging scissors so they can get creative and have fun. All the while they are building muscles and don’t even realize it!
When your child gets more coordinated and stronger with cutting you can give them shapes. Try shapes with straight lines, then curvy, then a more complicated shape like a house, car or flower. Set them free with a magazine for them to cut out any pictures they like!
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When I mention to parents that their kids need to do some practice cutting at home.
Some parents are quick to tell me why their child can’t cut:
he didn’t go to preschool
We only have big sharp scissors at home
I didn’t know she needed to know that!
I hide all the scissors so they can’t cut things when I’m not looking!
I tried to teach him, the scissors were too big
She doesn’t like cutting
If any of these reasons sound familiar, get some kid friendly scissors and let your child start snipping today!
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