Scissor Skills

Scissor skills are often a frightening prospect for parents to encounter. Why should my child learn to cut with scissors? At what age should I expose my child to using scissors and scissor safety? How do I determine if my child is ready? Being able to use scissors correctly is a skill that develops in stages throughout the course of childhood. Cutting requires the integration of many skills, which include:
  • shoulder, forearm and wrist stabilisation
  • fine-motor dexterity
  • eye-hand coordination
  • coordination of both hands working together
  • muscle strength
  • motor planning
Your child should be ready to be introduced to scissors if he/she is able to sit and attend while manipulating an object with two hands and shows a general interest in using scissors. It may be a surprise, but some pre-cutting activities include using spray bottles, pipettes, and tearing and crumpling paper. The importance of the helping hand, or stabiliser hand, is often overlooked. In order to cut efficiently your child should hold the paper with their thumb on top and move the paper (not the scissors) as they cut. The child should grasp the scissors with the thumb of their dominant hand in one loop and the index and middle fingers in the other loop. As he/she cuts the materials, he/she should maintain this thumbs-up position for greater control and precision.