TIPS : Toddlers and Learning to Use Scissors
Children and scissors. They don’t sound as if they’re supposed to go together, do they?
And I totally agree.
Young children must NOT be allowed to play with sharp scissors (including, walking around with such scissors in their little hands). Yes, the kinds that we adults use.
But, having said that, I also believe :
- These days they have ‘scissors for kids’, which we must take advantage of.
- Some toddlers may show interest in cutting activities, and this can be a great way to exercise their concentration and fine motor skills
…… this can be a great way to exercise their fine motor skills
Brie is 21 months old tomorrow, and she’s been into cutting paper since about 2 months ago.
So I got her a pair of child-friendly scissors.
The blunt, plastic type.
(Perhaps, being the 3rd child and seeing her older siblings cut paper and stuff triggers that interest in trying what cutting paper is like too?)
I thought of sharing these few tips that I personally tell and teach all my 3 kids when they were first introduced to cutting activities:
1. Emphasise on scissor safety and supervise cutting activities
Scissor safety should always be emphasised, especially before cutting activities begin. Supervise the activity too, especially if they’ve just started using scissors.
2. Teach that scissors are ONLY for cutting paper!
That means, NO cutting of crayons, shirts, fingers, hair and other body parts.
When Brie started using her child-friendly scissors, she did try to cut all sorts of stuff (not herself though), like crayons, coloured pencil, lego bricks, anything. I know she’s just exploring, but I did take the item away and explain to her – in simple sentences – that scissors are for paper and then I give the paper she can actually cut to her hands. She then starts cutting that paper.
Roughly, this is what I always say to her from the beginning:
Brie, you cannot cut this shirt *show shirt, look at Brie in the eye, and shake head*
Can you cut this shirt? *show shirt*
Nooo … *shake head*
If you want to cut, what do you cut? Paper *give paper*
Yes, it’s like talking to myself in the beginning =) And Brie would just give me a ‘what-are-you-talking-about’ look.
But, after a week, our conversation now goes like this:
Me : Brie, can you cut Jie-jie Anya’s book? *show Anya’s book that she’s tried to cut*
Brie : Noooo …
Me : If you want to cut, what do you cut?
Brie : Kertas (Indonesian for ‘Paper’)
And then, she’ll go to her paper and cut it.
(PS : To those who assume babies don’t understand much yet because they give zero or little responses, well … I’ve many to share that prove how babies do understand what’s happening around us, although they may not say anything. We just need to be repetitive and consistent in what we’re teaching them?)
…At Brie’s age, I don’t let her cut ‘any kind of paper she wants’.
Oh also, at Brie’s age, I don’t let her cut ‘any kind of paper she wants’.
At the moment, she cannot yet differentiate which ones that CAN be cut, and which ones that CANNOT be cut (ie. She’d end up trying to cut her sister’s school books, etc).
So when I spot her trying to cut the cover of our magazine that she’s found, for example, I’d explain why she cannot cut that one, and give her the paper that she CAN cut.
…If a child continues to want to cut something other than paper / the paper that we supply, the cutting activity is stopped and the scissors are taken away.
There are heaps of other cutting-activity tips out there, and here’s one from a kindergarten teacher :
If a child continues to want to cut something other than paper / the paper that we supply, the cutting activity is stopped and the scissors are taken away. Introduce the activity at another time. If the child continues to not use the scissors properly after being explained and taught, perhaps the child is not yet ready for activities involving scissors. Simply introduce the activity a few weeks later.
So, when did you introduce cutting activities to your child?
Any other tips you can share when it comes to toddlers and cutting activities?