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Motor skills begin to develop as soon as a baby begins to move. But around 2-3 months, the development of gross motor skills associated with large movements begins in earnest. Fine motor skills – the use of hands and feet to manipulate the environment and move objects – comes after the development of gross motor skills. And luckily for parents, simply following daily routines helps a baby develop both sets of skills.
“It’s about showing a child what the next step they’re working on looks like,” says Dr. Andy Bernstein, a pediatrician based in Evanston, Illinois. He notes that gross motor skills come first, consistent with the start of normal tummy time. An engaged parent can use this time to help the child through the movement stages while making it feel like play. gently as you sing songs, show them how to roll. And while you’re teaching them to roll, you can teach them to sit by wedging them between your legs and showing them toys while giving them less support.
As gross motor skills begin to progress, fine motor skills tend to emerge and work in tandem with larger motor skills. And once fine motor skills kick in, they can be promoted in all areas of a baby’s environment. Almost every room in a typical home features an activity where a baby can work on passing objects through their hands, to refine the advanced pincer grip, which allows them to grasp things smaller than they could. otherwise not with meaty little fists.
Develop infant motor skills in the kitchen
After securing the majority of the kitchen, parents should leave some low cabinets accessible to the baby. These cabinets should primarily contain pots, pans and plastic containers which are largely unbreakable. It’s even better if the items in the cabinets have thick, blunt edges and textures. Parents can let babies explore these objects on their own. Sure, it’ll be a little noisy and probably messy, but those qualities are great for a new human. And by manipulating these kitchen utensils, they learn to grasp them, turn them over, and maybe even pull themselves out of cupboard drawers, which helps them develop their gross and fine motor skills in tandem.
Develop baby’s motor skills in the playroom
A good playroom for developing motor skills should be loaded with thick cardboard books for a child to flip through, a skill they will then use when transferring objects and manipulating their environment. Simple puzzles, magnetized toys and other toys are also helpful.
But aside from developmentally useful toys, parents themselves should resist the urge to help themselves. It’s important to let a child solve problems, which helps them work their new skills in tandem and take them to the next level.
“If a toy rolls away from them, don’t just grab it. Encourage him to lean down and grab it. Eventually it turns into crawling,” says Bernstein. He also recommends leaving toys on a table to encourage a happy baby to use the edge of the table to pull themselves into a standing position.
Develop baby’s motor skills at the table
Utensils are the end game. Using a fork or spoon is the gold standard of well-honed motor skills, even if the technique for delivering food into the mouth remains a bit sloppy. But it all starts with eating with your hands. Even when a child eats bites, he learns to operate his fingers and hands. This is a great time to teach the pincer grip – the finger and thumb pinch that allows Grandma to use a needle on her tapestry and Spock to use the Vulcan Death Grip.
“Cheerios are a great move for a 9-month-old because they can work on fine motor skills, like the pinch grip,” Bernstein says. It is enough to spread the toasted curls on the table and allow the baby to start snacking.
Essentially, no matter what room a parent and baby are in, there are many possibilities. Basically, parents are encouraged to secure the room for baby and let the child explore. As long as what a child catches is safe, he manipulates the environment in the service of learning to be a functioning human being. It’s worth a little extra cleaning.
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