In the first five years of a child’s birth, there is rapid growth and development in mainly these four areas – physical, communication, cognitive and emotional. These areas contribute to the most critical time of a child’s development. Among these, physical development is one important development that we are going to discuss further.
Physical development is also called Motor Development and means the physical growth and strengthening of a child’s bones, muscles and ability to move and touch his/her surroundings.
There are two kinds of motor development for children:
- Fine motor skills development
- Gross motor skills development
Why Motor Skills?
Motor skills are something that we practice every day throughout our lives. They help us in our daily life movements like lifting heavy items, typing on a keyboard and more. These skills begin to develop after birth and progress as a child grows. Good motor skills and motor control help a child explore the world around him/her and also helps with other areas of development. Thus, they are important for a child’s independence.
Children need motor skills to be able to move and perform tasks independently. He/she is able to get the exposure of things around him/her as these skills encourages cognitive, speech and sensory development. These skills provide kids with confidence and independence, which promotes skills like executive function. They also help in preventing early motor delays, conditions that can interrupt development by making kids meet developmental milestones.
Gross motor skills are movements related to large muscles such as legs, arms and trunk. Fine motor skills are movements related to small muscle groups such as those in the hands and wrist.
When does the Motor Skills Development Start?
As a baby is born, motor skills development starts to happen. They begin to develop their core motor skills as soon as they start moving. There are many activities through which parents can help in the development of their kids’ motor skills such as placing their baby on their tummy and helping him/her reach for a toy, putting a toy on the couch for the child to stretch toward when he/she starts to stand, encouraging walking with a stroller your little one can push, visiting playgrounds where your child can climb, swing and slide.
How does a Child’s Motor Skills Development Start?
As the children get older, he/she will be working on their motor skills every day just by getting involved in the activities of their daily routine. Some extra stimulation in motor skills development is needed by infants and toddlers. So parents should make sure that they are encouraging all the physical movements on a daily basis and development of motor skills.
Motor Skills Milestones
Parents should ensure that their kid is meeting all the motor skills milestones regularly as they are very crucial. The achievement of one milestone tends to follow another. For instance, if a baby does not crawl until 7-9 months, he/she achieves many other milestones before that so he/she has the confidence and ability to crawl. Sleeping also matters for motor skills development as babies changing their sleep direction nightly helps in the same. Changing head direction helps to prevent positional flat head and positional torticollis, and strengthens both sides of their neck and their head movement.
Fine Motor Skills Development for Children
Some activities that children as a preschooler should be helped with are:
- Paste things onto paper
- Clap hands
- Touch fingers
- Button and unbutton
- Work a zipper
- Build a tower of 10 blocks
- Complete puzzles with five or more pieces
- Manipulate pencils and crayons well enough to colour and draw
- Copy a circle or cross onto a piece of paper
- Cut out simple shapes with safety scissors
These activities promoting motor skills contribute a lot to the children’s development and growth.
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