Hand-eye coordination in children fully develops later in life than you may think. Your child’s proprioception, which helps them sense where their body is in space, has to work along with what they sense visually. Putting those two elements together enables kids to hit a baseball or tennis ball. Between the ages of six and nine, your child is just beginning to put things together, and hand-eye coordination develops.
Don’t Rush It
Hand-eye coordination is a skill that you cannot speed up the way you can help your child learn to read at an earlier age. Hand-eye coordination can only be developed once their eye grows into its round shape and the muscles around it have strengthened enough to easily follow moving objects. Since there are no eye workouts to strengthen these muscles, the process is dependent on how fast that growth occurs naturally.
Activities To Help Brain Development
Although they may not be able to catch a ball at a far distance, there are things you can do with your child that enhance their learning at various developmental stages. Age appropriate puzzles help children with problem solving skills which they can build on each time they complete the puzzle. It’s also important to read with your children and interact with the words and pictures on the page. Teaching them simple, short words and asking what they are over time can help them memorize what the letters look like, which helps them feel like they can read. Down the road as they learn to read sentences, this can give them more confidence in their abilities.
There’s nothing wrong with involving your children in sports before they’ve honed in on their hand-eye coordination, as long as they are playing with other kids their age. Tee-ball, swimming and soccer are all great sports to play in the back yard, or on a team before they have fully developed hand-eye coordination.
If you are concerned with your child’s hand-eye coordination development, speak to your pediatrician–sometimes an occupational therapist or a physical therapist can help.