Why Are Motor Skills Important?
Acquiring motor skills is just one part of children’s development. Mastering both fine and gross motor skills are important for children’s growth and independence. Having good motor control helps children explore the world around them and also helps with their cognitive development.
Gross Motor Skills: movements related to large muscles such as legs, arms, etc.
Fine Motor Skills: movements involving smaller muscle groups such as those in the hand and wrist.
Watch the parents' guide to fine versus gross motor skills:
Did you know switching baby’s direction each night can help develop their neck and core muscles? This doesn’t mean you need to move their crib! Just alternate the direction they sleep in their crib each night. This way, each morning when they look up to see your smiling face they will use different muscles to pick up and turn their head. This can help prevent torticollis and flat spots on baby’s head.
You’ve probably seen parents walking around wearing their baby in a wrap or carrying device. These baby-wearing carriers are good for parents because they allow parents to carry baby with while keeping a hand free. They’re good for baby too because being positioned vertically, without pressure being applied to their head for an extended period, helps prevent flat spots. Remember: baby’s safety and abilities should always be considered before deciding to use any type of baby carrier.
Check with your child’s healthcare provider before baby-wearing as some babies lack the muscle strength to keep their airways open in an unsupported position.
Household Items for Motor Development
Babies are learning everyday through play by experiencing new textures, sounds, colors and patterns. You don’t need expensive toys for this to happen. Play with baby and let them explore using items you already have around the house. You may not realize but a bucket and wooden spoon can be a ton of fun!
Encouraging Your Baby to Crawl
Coloring and Cutting
Coloring pictures and cutting shapes are not only an essential part of arts and crafts, but they are an essential part of your child’s fine motor development too! Watch how a young girl’s fine motor skills improved with the help of occupational therapy. After all, playing is a child’s “job” so if they need a little extra help, occupational therapy could be the right fit.
Do you ever notice your child sitting with their legs in the shape of a W? When kids play, they tend to move in and out of this position, but if they sit in a W shape for extended periods there can be a few risks to their gross motor development. Learn more about the risks and alternate sitting positions to encourage.