Children require an effective and consistent pincer grip (thumb and index finger) in order to master many skills in early life. Initially they use this to feed themselves, then they learn how to pick up toys using this grip… and eventually they use this to help them develop an appropriate pencil grasp and to dress themselves.
Difficulties in mastering this skill can cause a child to experience a number of difficulties when trying to manipulate objects, open packets or simply assist with dressing tasks. Therefore it is important that they are able to use this grip well.
If your child is unable to adopt a consistent pincer grip and is consequently struggling to manipulate buttons, toys or other objects, place small pieces from a toy or game into a small container (must be small enough that they are unable to fit more than two fingers into the container at one time) and encourage them to retrieve these using their thumb and index finger, in order to continue with the game.
Alternatively, hide small pegs or pieces of a game in playdoh and encourage your child to find them using their fingers, once located they can retrieve them using their thumb and index finger. This not only helps to develop their pincer grip but encourages them to ‘feel’ the objects through the skin … a skill that is required for some of the more advanced finger manipulation skills.