Thursday, May 14, 2009

Drawing a line

As your preemie starts to develop his/her fine motor skills - encourage him/her to "color." At first just have your preemie hold the crayon and touch a piece of paper. Make sure you point out the color marks that appear on the paper. Take a crayon and color with your preemie.

Once your preemie gets the idea, he/she will start to dot the paper and then draw random lines across the page. There won't be any rhyme or reason to the drawing and that is fine. In fact - feel free to cheer your little one as if they have just completed a masterpiece on par with DiVinci or Van Gogh. Normally kids do horizontal lines first. As your preemie masters the art of a horizontal line, you can start to encourage him/her to draw a vertical line. This can be a difficult concept to understand so here are two ideas to try. The ideas come from my daughter's awesome developmental therapist.

1) Go/stop. Draw a circle at the top and bottom of the page (vertically). Connect the circles with a green dotted line. Color the top circle green and the bottom circle red. I would suggest starting out with about 5 of these lines. Put your crayon on the green circle and then draw a line to the red circle (you have now made a vertical line). As your draw the line say "go" and then say "stop" at the bottom. Do the first two lines yourself and then encourage your preemie to do the same. Continue saying go/stop as each line is drawn.

2) Vroom. This is basically the same concept as go/stop but instead of saying go/stop - you say vroom while the line is drawn. This is an especially good thing to use if you have a little boy who likes cars.

Having a sound associated with a specific movement or activity is very useful for getting kids to try and then remember it. I had tried to get Olivia to draw a vertical line with zero successes. Seriously. We talked about. I showed her how to do it. She was very excited - yes was heard several times when asked if she wanted to try it. And so the crayon was handed over. And then she promptly made horizontal lines over and over again. After our developmental therapist told me about the go/stop trick I tried it out and in one try Olivia was making vertical lines.

The funny part is that she continues to say go/stop when she draws the lines (even without the circles).

Happy coloring!

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