The first few years: motor development

Motor development is a sub-domain of the Physical Developmental area – look out for the rest of the area’s articles!

Motor skills, like everything else – are learned, and practice is key.

In order to develop her motor skills, your baby needs opportunities to strengthen her muscles, and coordinate her actions. In her first few months, this will come down to getting enough “tummy-time”, which will strengthen upper body muscles. When lying on her back, your baby may start to lift her head momentarily, and turn her head from side to side. Test her grasp reflex – you can place your finger in her hand, she’ll automatically curl her fingers around it!

Watch how your baby’s head starts to stay upright when you hold her in a sitting position. In no time, she’ll be able to sit up herself, and she’ll gain more and more control over her head by month four. Sitting will also provide some practice in balance and coordination, which will come in handy when she is ready to walk! To prepare her even more for this big step, try holding her in standing position – she’ll start to be able to bear some weight on her legs.

Beginning in month five, your baby might start rolling from her stomach on to her back – even though she might not be able to get back on her stomach again. Crawling is another exciting milestone, and great to get your baby exploring her environment and improving her spatial perception. However, this new mobility means that if you haven’t already babyproofed your home, the time is now.  She’ll keep getting more and more mobile with time, and in only a few short months, she might start holding herself up with furniture or other objects, and finally give that first step that we’ve all been waiting for. Make sure to capture it – that one’s sure to go on her Moments page.

Remember that every baby develops differently. These are just guidelines for development, and are by no means definitive. The only baby you should compare your baby against is herself! However, activities such as catching and throwing, swimming, or climbing, will provide more opportunities for improving hand-eye coordination and general motor skills in your child! Kinedu has a bunch of ideas – check out the video for an example!

 

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