How To Teach Your Preschooler To Cut With Scissors

Snip snip snip! Cutting is a skill that may take a good amount of time for a child to perfect. Cutting requires many components including: fine motor precision, bilateral skills, visual motor skills, grasping, problem solving, and attention to detail. Cutting can also be intimidating for parents to teach, as safety can be a definite concern! Here are some simple tips in order to work towards increased success with cutting:girl using scissors

Teach Your Child To Use Scissors:

  • Find an appropriate work station.  Seat your child at a table, with his feet flat on the floor, and with minimal distractions, so that he will be able to best attend to the activity at hand
  • Make sure your child is using his dominant hand to manipulate the scissors, and his non-dominant hand to hold the paper. If your child has not yet chosen his hand dominance, present the scissors at midline (the center of the body) so that your child can independently choose which hand to use. **Note: often times scissors are made more comfortably for right hand use.
  • Help your child to set-up his scissors correctly from the get go. This will prevent your child from developing a habit of holding his scissors incorrectly/inefficiently, and will lead to greater accuracy and confidence in the end. The thumb should be in the smaller of the two holes and the pointer and long fingers should be inside the larger hole. The ring finger and pinky can be tucked into the palm. **Note: make sure the thumb is facing up towards the ceiling, rather than turned towards the paper.
  • Patience is a virtue with cutting activities. A child should first start by simply snipping the paper, followed by cutting across the entire sheet of paper. After these skills are perfected the child can begin to practice cutting on both straight and curved/wavy lines, and cutting out large circles and squares. Lastly your child will work towards cutting out smaller circles and squares, and more complex shapes.
  • Remind your child to turn their paper rather than turning the directionality of their scissors. Your child’s scissors should ALWAYS be facing forward, cutting away from their body.
  • If your preschooler continues to struggle, try loop scissors or self-opening (spring loaded) scissors to help increase both of your confidence!

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