Using a pair of scissors can be really hazardous for preschoolers, especially when used carelessly or without supervision. If you have a creative child, the child would want to cut through materials like cardboards or art papers. Here are some questions to answer to know if the child is ready to use scissors:
- Do they have hand strength?
- Can they open and close their hands?
- Do they have any interest in using scissors?
- Can they sit at a table for an extended period?
After answering positively to the above questions, the next thing to do is choose the right scissors that they will use. Make sure to buy a child-size pair of scissors. It is usually smaller in size and has a blunt edge.
Now, it is time to teach the child. Use the following tips to teach the child how to hold a pair of scissors correctly:
- Thumb stay on top
Putting the thumb on top helps the child’s shoulders remain tucked in place to avoid ‘chicken winging’. If this is not the case, they would not be able to cut straight or steadily. You can ensure they do this by putting a sticker on his/her thumb and saying, ‘I want to see your thumb at all times’. You can make them practice cutting with Play-Doh. Just roll some into a worm and use it to practice.
- Teach them to open and close
Once they have learned to hold scissors, learning to open and close it makes their hands stronger on the scissors. Give commands like ‘open’ so the child opens the scissors and then ‘close’ so they close the scissors and make a snip. For example, you hold up the Play-Doh worm, say open and they open the scissors and when you say close, they close the scissors on the worm to make a snip.
- Making snips while turning paper
This exercise also helps them cut with steadier hands. Take a paper or plastic plate. Draw lines from the edge of the plate to the middle of the plate, then ask them to cut along those lines while turning the plate. This helps their coordination and the ability to use both hands at the same time.
- Teach them to push while cutting
When cutting across paper, they have to make one cut and then push the scissors forward to make another cut. To practice this, draw a line across the paper and guide them while emphasizing on pushing forward.
If your child is left-handed, ensure you buy a left handed pair of scissors for you child as normal scissors may be really painful or even impossible to use.
Ensure you use thick paper as it is easier to practice cutting on unlike flimsy printing paper. After you have followed the above tips, draw more lines, and make them cut through it. Make the lines a little bit more difficult and curvy as you keep practicing. On a side note, consider using apps like wundercare for childcare management, you won’t regret it.