Covid lockdown significantly damaged toddlers' speech and motor skills as they weren't given the opportunity…
As your baby grows and begins to explore their surroundings, they will develop new skills. Gross motor skills is a skill set that they will add to their tricks repertoire from the start.
Let’s take a look at some of these skills, as well as what to do if you think something is wrong.
Gross motor skills are skills that involve the whole body – your abdominal muscles (think stomach and back) and the muscles in your arms and legs.
Gross motor skills include skills such as:
- to jump
- lift (spoon, hairbrush, bar – they all count)
Yes, these are in fact skills.
And then there are the skills that require, well, a little more skill:
- to ride a bike or a horse
- playing sports such as football or baseball
- to swim
When your child uses gross motor skills, he also works on balance, coordination, hand-eye coordination, and strengthens neural pathways in his brain.
You have heard mothers in the park throw these terms with the same nonchalance that they use to throw a ball. So what’s the difference?
While gross motor skills involve the larger muscles, fine motor skills work the smaller muscles of the hands, fingers and wrists. Fine motor skills are about dexterity.
Here is an example from the previous section: Your child uses gross motor skills to elevator a hairbrush – but the fine motor skills to grab it in their hands in the first place.
Your child needs fine motor skills to do delicate things such as:
- holding pencil or scissors
- Chopped off
- string beads
- playing with legos
- button up his coat
The better their fine motor skills, the easier they will find tasks like drawing and the faster they will be able to do them.
But properly developed gross motor skills can help your child develop fine motor skills. Knowing how to sit will give your child the opportunity to sit at a desk and practice controlling the movements of their shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.
Your newborn baby has a long way to go before they crawl. Your little one has a long way to go before they play baseball. So what are the age-appropriate gross motor skills to watch for at each stage?
- As your baby’s startle reflex wears off, you will notice that his movements become more voluntary and controlled. With his developing hand-eye coordination, your baby will be able to beat brightly colored toys.
- When you place your baby on his tummy (you’ll want to plan a lot of tummy time in his day), you will notice he lifts his head and chest.
3 to 6 months
- At this age, babies start to move. As a rule, they will begin to roll from the back to the side. And then they’ll start rolling all the way – first from their stomachs to their backs and later from their backs to their stomachs.
- Hold your baby’s hands when she’s lying on her back and gently pull her to a sitting position. Notice that they can lift their heads.
- At first, your baby will sit up with a little help from you. Then they can sit down as long as they are leaning on their hands. And finally, when their back and abdominal muscles get stronger, they can sit up on their own.
- As your baby becomes more mobile, he will begin to slide on his tummy to explore. Watch them get up on all fours to rock back and forth. And then, just when you least expect it, they’ll start crawling.
- Every time your baby sits up, she works her leg muscles. Add to that a good dose of coordination and your baby will start to take a few hesitant steps, provided there is something to hold onto, like the coffee table or your pants.
- Your baby has found that he can see what is going on around him better if he is seated. Watch them sit alone.
- Not only can your little one walk very well on their own, they are also starting to run. Be careful, however, at this point it is still easy for them to fall.
- Hold her hand firmly and your child will enjoy the challenge of going up and down the stairs.
- At this point, your child can jump with both feet.
- As your child’s leg muscles strengthen and their balance improves, they can stand on one foot for a few seconds at a time.
- Peddling a tricycle requires hand-eye coordination and arm-leg coordination that they are starting to master.
- Your child can now have fun on the climbing frames in the park.
- Balancing on one foot is now a snap, so your child will start to jump on one foot.
- Ball games become more fun because your child can catch a ball – almost all the time.
- Get ready for jump rope games now that your kid can jump.
- With well-developed gross motor skills, your child is ready to learn to skate and swim.
Always remember that each child is absolutely unique, just like everyone else. Your only child may not follow the directions given and this is perfectly normal. We all develop in sync with our own internal clock.
That said, here are a few things you might want to watch out for:
- Your child is not interested in the physical activities their peers are happy to do. In fact, they are even trying to get out of it.
- Your child blundered on purpose to hide that he has trouble doing them.
- Your child teaches other children how to catch a ball, climb to the top of a jungle gym, or jump, but they will not participate in the game.
If your child does not follow many of the above steps, you may want to contact your pediatrician for an evaluation. Very often, early intervention with a physiotherapist or pediatric occupational therapist can fill in the gaps that you see.
Sometimes parents notice that their child is having difficulty in many areas of physical activity. For example, if your toddler is clumsy, has an unsteady gait that makes it difficult to negotiate stairs, and cannot tie his shoes or complete arts and crafts projects.
When several signs come together, they can signal a condition known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
There are many ways to encourage these skills at different stages.
- Practice the head position. Alternate which side you position your baby’s head on when you put him to bed. Gone one day; right the next day. This will encourage your baby to lift his head and strengthen both sides of his neck.
- Time to eat. Tummy time strengthens your baby’s neck and back muscles. Keep your baby interested by shaking a colorful toy in front of him.
- Tug rattle. It’s never too early to start building those biceps. Place a rattle in your baby’s hand and pull gently.
- Sit your baby. Support your toddler to encourage them to develop their motor skills to sit independently. While they are learning, give them a helping hand to keep them stable.
- Sticky notes on the wall. Once your baby can pull himself up onto a wobbly support, try putting post-it notes on the wall just out of his sitting reach. They will be happy to stand up to grab the notes and pull them off the wall.
- Free movement. Once you’ve protected baby and created a safe space for baby, it’s best to spend less time with him in loungers and sweaters, and more time encouraging him to move around on his own. Try to scatter your favorite toys around a room and watch them crawl to their treasures.
- Take walks. It won’t be as fast as riding a stroller, but your new rollator needs plenty of opportunities to practice walking. Create a safe space in your home for this by securing the children and setting up a playpen. Give your little one plenty of time to wander when he is on a grass lawn or at the park.
- Sand game. It might sound like a snap, but as your child digs, scoops, pours, and sieves, they’re working their gross motor skills.
- Create obstacle courses. Set up (safe!) Objects in a room so your little one will need to crouch, crawl, walk around, reach, lift, and even move objects to get from side to side. other.
Gross motor skills are mostly developed early on and, as noted above, only involve large muscle groups. Once your child has these skills in their repertoire, they can add other skill levels like coordination, muscle development, posture, balance, etc.
Here are some examples of strengthening gross motor skills:
- hopscotch and jump
- trampoline jump
- to swim
- play musical instruments
Supporting your child throughout their journey in life is one of the most satisfying things you can do.
When you watch your child get up and land on his well-padded butt, you might not believe the adage that time passes. But it won’t be long and soon you’ll be eating popcorn on the sidelines while your superstar hits a home run.