Why Are Motor Skills Important?
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:
Did You Know Switching Your Infant’s Head Direction in Their Crib Each Night Can Help with Motor Development?
Changing head direction can help your infant’s fine motor skills and gross motor skills by helping to prevent positional plagiocephaly (flat head) and positional torticollis, by encouraging baby to move their head and strengthen both sides of their neck.
Motor Skills 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 be working 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 get 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 Motor Milestones
Check off your baby’s motor milestones with our helpful and FREE brochure and checklist!
The Assure the Best Brochure is available in various languages and helps you follow baby’s development from 0-15 months.
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
Everyday Activities to Exercise Motor Skills
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.
- 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.
Can Baby-Wearing Affect Your Baby’s Motor Skills?
You’ve probably seen parents walking around wearing their baby in a wrap or carrying device. They can be a great way to hold baby hands-fee, but baby’s safety and abilities should always be considered before choosing a carrier.
Behaviors to Watch Out 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:
Get baby moving with the Baby Games Calendar!
Keep your little one on track from birth! Sign up for the Baby Games Calendar to receive weekly, age-appropriate exercises that they can do to help their fine and gross motor development.
Sign Up Today