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  • Miss Farrah

5 Tips To Help Children With Scissor Skills

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

Positioning is the next thing to look at when working with children on cutting.

1.) Sitting posture needs to be accessed before expecting a little one to start using scissors. Does the child have head control? Can the little one sit upright in a chair without tumbling to the floor due to poor sitting balance? Is the chair the right size for the child? Do their feet touch the floor, and if they do not touch then use a footrest for support? We actually make footrest our of phone books and duct tape they work great.

2.) Scissor positioning is a skill that children need opportunities to practice, and it may require physical prompting and modeling from adults to learn initially. I like to use verbal cues “thumb up to the sky” or I tell my students to think of the thumb as the bus driver they sit in the small opening and three fingers (kids) sit in the large opening. Stickers and googly eyes may be another helpful tool used as a visual cue to correctly position fingers in the scissors.

3.) Paper Management can be very frustrating to children causing them to get upset or lose interest in the task. When little ones are first learning to use their “helper hand” to manage paper it is best to keep the task simple such as snipping or cutting play-dough with a variety of tools. Coloring, painting, catching a ball, pulling apart interlocking blocks, and using eating utensils is a great way to encourage bilateral hand usage.

4.) Visual attention is a necessary skill for your child to have during cutting skills. If a child is visually distracted while working with scissors they take the chance of missing the paper or lines they are trying to cut or worse they may cut their fingers. If this skill needs practice I would suggest going back to the precutting activities to work on visual attention. Eliminating visual distractions during cutting can be done by environmental modifications such as using a tri-fold as a divider, turning off the television, or change the position of work area.

5.) Hand strength is an area that is continuously being worked on with little ones by encouraging activities that work children’s hands. If you notice your child switching hands, dropping scissors, or hands shaking it could be due to hand fatigue. If this task is difficult for the little one you may see refusal, shutdown, or running away from the work area. If this happens try chunking the cutting task into smaller portions, or give the child more breaks in between steps.

Here is a video explaining the five tips in more depth,

I hope you find these tips helpful when working with your little one. Please feel free to share with other parents who could benefit from learning about these tips for cutting. Thank you for reading my blog, and the continued support. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Remember make every day count!! Love Miss Farrah

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