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What is graphomotricity and why is it important?

Writing is one of humanity’s most important advances of all time. Not for nothing, it allows us to transmit our knowledge and various data through time and space, reproduce our thoughts, and transmit them accurately to others. But the ability to read and write doesn’t come out of anywhere.

It’s something we learn over the years. In terms of writing, in addition to the ability to symbolize, it requires the ability to perform a series of precise movements, i.e. graphomotricity.

What is graphomotricity?

Graphotricity is the collection of manual movements required to write. These movements will be incorporated with fine motor development, the ability to mobilize hands and fingers in a coordinated way, the basis of graphomotricity is fine psychomotricity. Therefore, graphomotor skills are skills that require a high degree of precision and control that must be acquired gradually through practice throughout life.

It is a capacity that requires the development and coordination of motor and perceptual aspects. The goal is for you to learn the basic skills needed to express yourself through graphic representation.

When do these skills begin to develop?

It is said that graphomotor skills begin in the early stages of childhood, so children gradually acquire mastery of space and instruments.

The first thing they learn is the movements of the forceps and gripping different objects that are getting smaller and smaller.

The correct development of graphomotor skills also includes learning elements that are not just graphs, such as differentiating between elements, being able to represent and have guidance with respect to instructions are fundamental aspects in the development of writing skills.

Over time, these processes are automated, allowing you to deepen and improve the level of finesse and accuracy required for proper writing.

Developing this skill

As we said, this skill does not seem from scratch but requires a complex learning process through which each of us learns to master the movements needed to write.

Early attempts at graphic expression might be considered to begin roughly when your child is about a year and a half old, usually when he or she starts doing the first doodle. The child works by impulse and with total lack of control, without coordination, and using the whole arm as a block. Don’t worry, it’s starting, you can spend some time in the afternoon playing with different paints and textures for you to practice.

Later, about two years old, you’ll see that he starts using his elbow more and using strokes (albeit still without coordinating eye and hand) and making a circular doodle. Then, little by little, you will begin to have pulse control and hand strength, as well as tracking hand movement with your eyes. Right now you’ll see that it starts to make the first independent lines.

Later than three years, there is already an attempt to control the movement of the hand and coordinate it to perform a directed blow. You’ll start combining colors and center the motion so it doesn’t disappear from the paper, and try to identify something in the drawing. Over the course of the four years, a pre-schematic phase begins in which the child begins to draw an image symbolizing a specific element to be depicted. That is, it draws a specific element such as a house, a person, or an animal, but schematically.

From this point up to six years, you will learn how to add details to the above elements. He would also enter a presyllabic stage, beginning to distinguish pictorial drawings from lines that claim to represent letters or numbers.

Initially, they are disorganized and separated, but gradually they are organized and aligned so that they can be read, although at first only your little one understands what he means, it is a good time to stimulate him by asking him and making different games with the drawings so that he can tell you that he wanted to express.

Then we move on to a moment of syllabic writing, in which each chart begins to represent a specific syllable or phoneme. Later, as we continue to improve the stroke and symbolization capability, you’ll see it reach a transition to alphabetical writing, in which each chart ends with a phoneme. Over the years, the letters will improve and you will be able to perform smaller and more accurate spellings.

How to improve graphomotor skills?

Graphotricity is a fundamental ability to write and draw, and it also contributes to increased accuracy and dexterity to perform various tasks. It is advisable to try to strengthen it through various activities. Practicing calligraphy can help, but these activities can not only be done by repeating on a sheet but can also be approached from a more playful perspective. It stimulates the behavior of the game and the ability to draw, not only with colored pencils but also with elements such as paint or sand and other textures. But training not only includes painting and coloring but also helps to improve all activities that require a certain level of fine motor skills.

Encourage things like building games, clay, folding papers, using scissors, or even throwing objects to improve manual coordination. If your child likes to play a musical instrument, for example, it’s also helpful. Other games, such as following a musical rhythm with palms, symbolism, and role-playing, and imitating people, animals, and objects also help improve these skills.

Examples of activities that encourage the development of graphomotricity:

– Draw or write on a vertical surface, you can paste the paper to the wall or do it on a whiteboard.
– When doing fine motor skills exercises with your child, always start with easy activities and then gradually introduce more complex and difficult-to-perform activities. This way, you won’t lose the motivation to do activities.

– When painting a coloring book, the child exercises by painting within the lines. If your child presses the pencil to the paper, show it how to do proper pen pressure.

– If you draw a person and are missing a part, ask them, “What else should you draw on a person?”, “Where are their hands?”, “Where are their legs?” and things like that.

– You can draw a simple object, and then let it copy it. It starts with a single line, then two, then a circle, and so on.

– You can draw the lines around your hand or an object, this will make you improve your pen dexterity.

– To gain manual dexterity, you can work the vertical, horizontal, oblique, circular, zig-zag strokes, and so on. On the Internet, you can find a lot of templates to download or you can make them at home.

He thinks it’s not just about him doing different things, it’s about him appreciating them, too. For this, family support is essential, the fact that you actively participate in this learning part and also congratulate him on his achievements will make your child feel safer and more appreciated. In addition, sharing moments with these games and activities as positive and enjoyable is critical can strengthen the bond and improve the ability to write and learn.

All the information we give you in this article is indicative as each child and each family is different and unique.

Carolina González Ramos

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