Editor’s Note: We are especially excited about this week’s OT Corner Article. Anne Zachry, OTR/L of Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips was asked to write the following article on teaching preschoolers to use scissors for Parents.com. We were honored when she called us for input! Congratulations to Anne on this great feature for such a premier website, and hooray to PediaStaff’s own OT Clinical Coordinator, Sunita Murty-Gami for her excellent advice (which you can find in part 2 of the article)!
by Anne Zachry, OTR/L
Cutting with scissors requires the skill of hand separation, which is the ability to use the thumb, index, and middle fingers separately from the pinkie and ring fingers. This can be challenging for a youngster with small hands. Although many 3- or 4-year-olds have the skills needed to snip and cut, scissor skills are not fully developed until around age 6. If your preschooler is beginning to show an interest in using scissors, start exercising her fine motor skills by following these strategies.
Select Good Scissors. Scissors come in a variety of sizes, so search for a pair that fits your child’s hand. For an inexperienced cutter, select scissors with a blunt point, and give them a trial run to make sure the blades are sharp enough for cutting. Dull scissors can fold the paper instead of cutting it.
Left-handed children should always use left-handed scissors. The upper blades on true left-handed scissors are on the left side so that children can see the cutting line. Beware of scissors that are supposedly ambidextrous; although these can easily be held with the left or right hand, the upper blade is still on the right side, which makes it difficult for lefties to see the cutting line.