How important is it to teach your child how to cut at such a young age? The use of scissors requires and enhances many developmental tasks. Some parents have stated that their child is “too young to cut”. A child who is following the appropriate developmental track should start cutting at the age of 2 years old.
There are several developmental skills that a child is learning at a young age. Cutting allows a child to build up the tiny muscles in the palm of his/her hand, since he/she has to continuously open and close the hand. These muscles are also used when the child is writing/painting or holding onto anything with a grip. For example, a child needs to hold onto a toothbrush, spoon or fork, and pull up their pants on a daily basis.
Cutting also enhances the use of eye-hand coordination. This means that the child must be able to use his/her vision, process what they see, and then be able to move their hand while they are looking at something. This can be a difficult task because it requires the brain to be working with two systems. However, eye-hand coordination is used throughout your child’s day. It is used when your child catches or throws a ball, uses a spoon to scoop up the food that they want, and zips up his/her coat.
Cutting also encourages your child to use bilateral coordination. This means that your child can use both sides of their body at the same time. For example, when cutting a circle, a child must hold the paper with one hand (and continuously turn it) while the other hand is opening and closing the scissors and moving forward to cut. You may need to try this to understand the true meaning. Bilateral coordination (using both hands, while each one is doing something different) is used throughout everyday life. For example, it can be used when you are zipping up a coat or pants, washing dishes, opening up an envelope, and driving.
Think about all of the little things that you do everyday and how you constantly use the tiny muscles in your hand, eye hand coordination, and bilateral coordination. Please see “Savvy Scissor Tips Part 2” to learn techniques on how to facilitate this skill.