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After reading “Savvy Scissor Tips Part 1,” you should have a better understanding of why you should teach your children to use scissors. Here are some savvy tips on how you can help them learn this skill. This is the developmental sequence of when children should be cutting:
• 2 years: snip the ends of a piece of paper
• 2.5 years: cut through a piece of paper
• 3.0-3.5 years: cut on a 1/2″ darkened line (can not cut off of the line more than 3 times)
• 3.5-4.0 years: cut out a circle with darkened lines (has to stay close to the line for 3/4 of the circle)
• 4.5-5.0 years: cut out a square with darkened lines (corners should be sharp)
Each time your child has mastered one of the above sequences, make sure that he/she can cut through various materials. Cutting through thicker material is easier than cutting through thin material. So start with cutting through play dough, then go to Manila folders, then to construction paper, then to regular paper, then to tissue paper. This will ensure that your child is really able to cut that particular shape. Keep in mind that when children are cutting on lines, the lines should always be very dark, and at least a 1/4″- 1/2″ thick so that they are easy to see and the child does not get frustrated.
Fiskar scissors are the best to use for right or left handed children because they allow for the most stability when cutting and they come with rounded edges so that they are not as sharp. You may want to hold the paper for your child when they first start to cut, since bilateral coordination can be a difficult thing to learn. A child should first just learn how to open and close his/her hand and feel the sensation of cutting a piece of paper. If your child is having difficulty with opening and closing his/her hand or getting frustrated, you may want to try using other instruments or doing other tasks that are associated to cutting. For example, tongs and tweezers require the same open-close motion of scissors. Have your child pick up interesting objects with the tongs or tweezers and drop them into a bucket. You can make this a race or have them crawl on the floor to encourage shoulder strength at the same time. Also, a hole-puncher is a fun tool to use and most children think that this is really cool! Play-DOH scissors are also very safe for a young child. After your child is able to cut out a shape, have them color it, put their name on it, and hang it up so that they can be proud of their work!
Please note that scissors can be dangerous and children should be supervised at all times when using scissors. Most of all do not be scared or nervous to let your child use scissors if you are with them. This is a task that will help them to succeed in many areas as they grow up! Share this experience with your child, be creative, and HAVE FUN!