Picture this: You’re in the kitchen, scrambling to get some sort of dinner on the table. One thing has piled on top of another, and it’s been a hectic day. While you wait for the pasta to cook, you look out the window and see your husband playing catch with your child. For a moment, the stress dissipates and your heart feels full.
A child playing catch with their Dad seems to be a symbol of bonding between a child and his or her father. I’m pretty sure most dads want their children to be somewhat athletic if they’re into sports themselves. So spending time throwing and catching the ball is a common pastime, but teaching a toddler how to throw and catch a ball is no small feat. It can take a long time to perfect the activity and can be frustrating for both parent and child. Don’t give up! Developing hand eye coordination begins when your child is merely an infant and develops past toddlerhood. It is an important skill. Here are three significant tactics to consider when working on toddler hand coordination.
Be patient. It’s easy to give up, especially when you’re dealing with a toddler who is prone to throwing tantrums when they get frustrated or bored or discouraged. Learn to be patient with their feelings. Remember that it’s hard for them to process their emotions and don’t know why they are feeling the way they do. Let them feel what they need to feel, but always encourage them to keep trying. Remind your child that he is or she is doing a great job and to keep working at it. Always use positive reinforcement and take breaks or switch to a different activity when either of you get too frustrated or tired.
Encourage your kids to partake in other, simpler activities regularly to develop hand eye coordination. Hand coordination does not stem solely from playing catch. There are many other activities that children partake in that can refine this skill, such as stacking blocks and tearing them down, filling a bucket or box with toys and emptying it again, and coloring while trying to stay inside the lines. Remember to encourage your child to partake in these activities.
Keep practicing. Change it up by using different sized balls or objects. It will keep their interest and develop the skill more proficiently. It’s best to start with a larger, soft ball to make catching easier. One way to change it up and make it more interesting is to hold up a hoola hoop and encourage your child to throw the ball into the hole. This will give them a better visual and a large target and is a nice change of pace.
Remember that what’s most important for your child’s success in developing skills, including hand coordination, is to encourage them constantly! They are looking to you for support, so take the time to get down on their level and play with them! Consistency and keeping them motivated will lead help develop this crucial skill. Have fun!