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Ask The Expert - "Clumsy" Children?

by on 22/12/2014 4541

Question : My son has just turned 3. Lately I noticed that he keeps falling down a lot, even when he tries to climb into his bed, which is children-sized. He also seems to accidentally drop things, like when he’s keeping his toys or when he is carrying his books from one place to another, more often than I have ever noticed before. I’m not sure if this is a stage or if there is anything wrong. Should I be worried?



Answer : If your child is developing normally, then your child may be just seeking for attention or knowing that someone is there to help him. This is sometimes called “help me fetch game” where they even at a tender age will learn to do because there is no need to be independent. Parents can be more assertive by showing that he is a “big” boy and can do these tasks.

However, if the child seems to be “clumsy”, dropping items and knocking over things, then it is recommended to see a specialist with worries of Developmental Coordination Difficulties (DCD). For example, your child may take slightly longer than expected to:

  • roll over
  • sit
  • crawl
  • walk

You may also notice that your child appears unusually stiff (hypertonia) or “floppy” hypotonia), has difficulty playing with toys that involve good co-ordination (such as stacking bricks), and they may have some difficulties learning to eat with cutlery. Other areas which may be monitored can be checked below.


  • with playground activities such as hopping, jumping, running, and catching or kicking a ball – they often avoid joining in because of their lack of co-ordination and may find PE (physical education) difficult
  • walking up and down stairs
  • writing, drawing and using scissors – their handwriting and drawings may appear scribbled and more childish than other children their age
  • getting dressed, doing up buttons and tying shoelaces
  • keeping still – they may swing or move their arms and legs a lot and find it hard to sit still


A child with DCD may appear awkward and clumsy as they may bump into objects, drop things and fall over a lot – although this in itself is not necessarily a sign of DCD, as many children who appear clumsy actually have all the normal motor (movement) skills for their age.


Some children with DCD may also become less fit than other children as their poor performance in sport may result in them being reluctant to exercise.


If your child shows at least 80% of the above areas even after you have presented and showed him how to do these tasks/activities, it is highly recommended to see a specialist in developmental disorders before seeking any further help.



If you have any question, please email your question to (with email subject "Ask The Expert").

Thank you in advance for your participation.




About Our Expert


Professor Dr. Eric Lim is the founder of Kits4Kids Foundation, a foundation that specializes in the education and development of children with special needs. 


He also leads many international social enterprises all around the world. Prof. Dr. Eric Lim holds a PhD in Educational Management as well as Masters of Education, Bachelor of Special Education and Masters of Psychology, focusing on child psychology and counseling.


He is passionate about helping as many people as he could in spreading the love for children and humanity.


Prof. Dr. Eric Lim is here to answer your questions on: 


  • Childhood care (Aged infants and above)
  • Children education
  • Play tools for skills development
  • Family counseling
  • Other relevant areas