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Encouraging Motor Development- Why and How?

Children grow rapidly in the first five years of life across the four main areas of development which are the motor, communication, cognitive and social/emotional areas. We will be talking about motor development now, and why it is important that kids develop it early in life and how parents and caregivers can help in its development.

Motor or physical development means the growth and strengthening of a child’s bones, muscles and the ability to reach and touch his/her surroundings. It involves the control of the arms, legs, head and trunk. These are muscles needed to be able to sit, stand, walk, run, keep balance, or change positions . The best way to develop this area is through play. Through play, children can practice large coordination of body movements. Parents and caregivers should build opportunities for children to move their bodies.

Child’s motor skills should be developed throughout the different age stages, from infancy to childhood. First, identify the basic order. It starts from the inner body which includes the head and neck, then the arms and legs and moves to extremities such as the hands, fingers and toes. 

Here are general suggestions to encourage motor development throughout different stages:

Infants:

  • Place toys within reach so the baby will move to reach out for them.
  • Take some tummy time. This activity will strengthen the infant’s neck and back muscles. Always keep these sessions short- about a minute and increase slowly as the muscles get stronger.
  • Soft tug. Give a graspable object to the baby’s hand and tug it gently. The baby’s resistance will help develop build muscles. 
  • At around four months, you can start gently pulling the baby to a standing position.

1 year old:

  • Shared reading. Encourage the child to flip the page of the book. 
  • Let her/him play with toys that stay attached with moving parts. 
  • Let the child imitate your gestures during play or singing.

2 years old:

  • Playing parade with the toddler.
  • Exploring. By taking a walk inside or outside the home/facility, let the child explore natura; sensory experiences. Give guided freedom to explore the world around him/her. 
  • Walking up and down hills or uneven surfaces.
  • Building towers of blocks.

3-5 years old:

  • Playing with a soft ball, throwing it back and forth. 
  • Helping with simple household chores.
  • Crayons and other coloring and playing materials. 
  • Outdoor activities such as coloring with sidewalk chalk, water play, riding bikes and scooter, etc.
  • Organized sports, painting activities and visiting playgrounds. 

Here at Peek-A-Boo, we see to it that the child’s motor skills, along with other important

areas of child’s development are developed throughout the different stages. There’s nothing more precious than seeing your child so happy while learning!

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