When should my child be able to draw a line?
We take a look at how your child's drawing skills progresses as they age.

For your child to be able to draw, colour or write, there are a number of skills he or she will have to learn and develop.  These include forming a pincer grasp, left and right discrimination, in-hand manipulation, finger isolation, hand-eye coordination, fine motor strength (using the small muscle groups in the fingers) as well as upper body strength (especially the larger muscles in the shoulder), crossing the midline, bilateral coordination as well as visual perception.

?During the first year, babies use their hands mainly to throw things or put them into their mouths, to unpack things or take them apart and to hit things. This all forms part of their development and is necessary to improve the above-mentioned skills.  

?Most toddlers begin to scribble shortly after they are able to grasp a crayon, which usually happens when they are about a year old. They will hold the crayon with a palmar grasp (using their whole hand) with their thumb close to the opposite end of the tip. At this stage they will also start to manipulate objects with their hands.  

?Around 2 years of age, your toddler’s drawing skills will improve and they will start to experiment by drawing lines. After being shown how to do it, they should also be able to copy a circle and some vertical lines. As their hand function improves, they will hold the crayon lower, closer to the tip, and use their thumb, index and middle fingers to grip. They will also start using elbow instead of shoulder movements to scribble and draw.

?A year later, at 3, their drawing skills will have improved to such an extent that your little artist will be able to copy a vertical and horizontal line, a circle and a cross (+). They will hold the crayon or pencil close to the tipwith the thumb and the first 2 fingers, but now it will fit between thumb and index finger. They will have better control of it and will start to colour in simple pictures, although not staying within the lines.   ?Six months later you will be able to teach your child to trace his or her own name or to copy it after you’ve written it down for them. 

?At the age of 4, your child will have a mature tripod grip and will use finger and wrist movements when drawing or colouring in. Their drawing skills will improve to such an extent that they will be able to draw a circle, square, rectangle and even a line between 2 other lines that are a few centimetres apart. 

?From about 4 and a half, your child will use finger movements while drawing, colouring or writing. They will also start to support the paper with their other hand and be able to write one or two letters of their own name. They will also be able to colour in more accurately.  

?At 5 years old, they will be able to colour in between lines and have good control while writing and drawing.  During this year, children usually learn to write their own name (depending on the length and difficulty of the name) and they will start to write numbers and letters. It is quite normal for them not to get these 100% correct and they may still form letters the wrong way around.   

?By the age of 6, you can teach your child to write their name and surname as well as all the basic shapes like circles, squares, rectangles, triangles and crosses.

Mysmartkidis South Africa's leading programme for Early Childhood Development (ECD). Click hereto join the programme.

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