Why Are Motor Skills Important?
Motor skills are essential for baby's physical strength and movement
Motor skills are used everyday throughout our lives. They help us move and do everything from lifting heavy items to typing on a keyboard. Motor skills and motor control begin developing after birth, and will progress as children grow.
Having good motor control also helps children explore the world around them, which can help with many other areas of development.
Motor skills are broken up into two categories: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Mastering both are important for children’s growth and independence.
Gross motor skills are movements related to large muscles such as legs, arms, and trunk.
Fine motor skills are movements involving smaller muscle groups such as those in the hand and wrist.
Watch the Parents' Guide to Fine Versus Gross Motor Skills:
Motor Skills: Know the Basics
Why does my child need motor skills?
- To be able to move and complete tasks independently
- To be able to explore the world around them, which promotes cognitive, speech, and sensory development
- To give them confidence and independence, which promotes skills such as executive function
- To meet developmental milestones
- To possibly help prevent early motor delays and conditions that can interrupt development
When should my baby start developing motor skills?
As a newborn! They will begin developing core motor skills as soon as they start moving. Sign up for the Baby Games Calendar or visit our Baby Games page to learn more about the physical activities that are age-appropriate for your little one, to help them make progress on their motor skills every week.
How often should my child work on their motor skills?
The short answer: every day!
As they get older, your little one will be working their motor skills every day just by going about their daily routine and getting more involved in activities! However, for infants and toddlers, they may need extra stimulation to work their motor skills. Make sure you are encouraging physical movement and development of these skills on a daily basis.
What are some important motor milestones?
All motor milestones are important! Which means it’s crucial to ensure your baby is meeting their milestones. You can find all motor milestones or learn more from the Assure the Best brochure.
The achievement of one milestone tends to lead to another. So for example, while babies typically do not crawl until 7-9 months, they achieve plenty of other milestones before that so they have the strength and confidence to crawl.
Learn more about encouraging your baby to crawl!
Check off your baby’s motor milestones with our helpful and FREE brochure and checklist!
Learn more about baby's motor milestones with the Assure the Best brochure.
Download the Brochure
The Milestone Checklist helps parents keep track of their children’s motor, sensory, communication and feeding milestones, from birth to 3 years old. Also available in multiple languages.
Download the Checklist
Why Sleep Matters for Motor Skills
Changing baby's sleep direction can help strengthen baby's neck muscles and head control
Changing head direction can help prevent positional plagiocephaly (flat head) and positional torticollis, by encouraging baby to move their head and strengthen both sides of their neck. When baby faces different directions as they lay, they also vary the direction they turn their head in response to a noise (such as a parent entering the room). This strengthens neck muscles more evenly on both sides, and changes the places where baby puts pressure on their head as they lay.
Great ways for children to work their motor skills every day!
Much of your child’s fine and gross motor development can happen right at home! Learn more about some ways to keep them moving every day.
Help baby make progress on their motor skills every week!
Sign up for the Baby Games Calendar or visit our Baby Games page to learn more about the physical activities that are age-appropriate for your little one.
Sign Up Today
What to Watch For
What are some behaviors to watch out for that could affect my child’s motor skills?
Children outgrow many of the behaviors that can interrupt motor development. Some common ones to watch out for include:
Watch to see what w-sitting is and why it matters:
Typical and Atypical Motor Development
Motor behaviors that should be addressed
What do typical and atypical development look like? What should it look like when baby begins to sit, crawl, and walk? In the below graphics, see what typical and atypical development look like. Typical development is in blue, and means baby is right on track; atypical development is in yellow, and means that baby may have a motor delay.
If you suspect a motor delay, reach out to baby’s healthcare provider to find out what may be causing this delay. Early intervention is essential for addressing development issues and preventing further delays.