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When your baby starts growing, he/she will try investigating things around them, and as a result, they will develop new skills every day. But how is this all related to Gross motor skills?
Basically, Gross motor skills refers to the skills where the baby’s core muscles and muscles of arms and legs are used to perform different activities. These activities include, running, sitting, throwing a ball, catching, standing, and swimming.
Importance of gross motor skills
Gross motor skills are more complex as they involve the coordination of the neurological system and muscles. They have huge impact on balance and coordination. Gross motor abilities also have a strong influence on everyday tasks such as eating, packing away their toys, and getting onto and off the toilet or potty. Gross motor skills are important to enable children to perform simple task e.g dressing where you have to stand on one leg and put your leg into a pant leg without falling over. They are critical for development of fine motor skills.
How to check if child has delays with gross motor Skills?
If a child has difficulties or delay with gross motor skills, they might
- Face difficulties reaching developmental milestones like crawling, sitting, walking and forget previously mastered skill very easily.
- Tire frequently with physical activity.
- They try to avoid any sort of physical activities
- Face difficulties following any multiple step instructions to complete any physical task like obstacle course.
- They goof up their tasks on purpose to show that they’re having trouble doing them.
- They won’t take part in the game but tells other kids how catch a ball, reach the top of a jungle gym.
- Be unable to plan sequence of events in a process like step forward before throwing
If your ever notice that your child is showing any of these, you should consult a paediatrician. Very often, early evaluation can close the gaps you see.
Activities which will improve gross motor skills
It is recommended that both structured play as well as unstructured play should be incorporated daily in your child’s schedule throughout the day. Infants and toddlers should get minimum of 180 minutes of activity spread throughout the day based on research. Hence, to help your kid maintain balance and coordination while developing these motor skills you can try below mentioned activities. I have segregated activities based on the age
For your little one, you can try this
1. Alternating your baby’s Head Positions
This exercise prevents flat head syndrome and helps kids to raise their heads and strengthen the neck muscles.
2. Encourage Tummy Time
This is the most favorite activity of kids. But did you know that this activity even helps babies to strengthen their back and neck muscles and encourages them to balance their body on the upper abdomen.
3. Make the Baby Sit for a while
Give your baby the best support while they are learning to sit, but don’t support them for a long period. Let them learn this activity little by little but on their own.
4. Play with Rattles
Rattles help in improving the hand-eye coordination of babies and is also a great and entertaining activity. They will even learn perception skills along with playing.
For Toddlers, you can do the following –
1. Dance with them
Dancing is the best pastime for both adults and kids, and it also helps toddlers to develop body balance and maintain coordination. They will learn all this effortlessly and in a fun way!
2. Play Along with Balloons
Balloons are kid’s favourite toys and while playing with just a balloon every day they tend to run and jump a lot. Moreover, it even improves and develops hand-eye coordination.
3. Jump a little
Jump along with your baby to help them hone their coordination skills. It also helps them to stand and climb quickly.
4. Play with Boxes of different shapes and sizes
Collect as many different shapes and sizes of boxes as you can for your little one. You can use these boxes to play with your baby as they will crawl to grab them and climb over.
For Pre-schoolers, you can try doing this –
1. Go for small Tricycle or Scooter rides
Cycling is the most favourite activity of most of the kids, and it also keeps them engaged for a long period. Apart from entertainment, cycling even boosts physical wellness and improves the overall motor skills of pre-schoolers.
2. Regularly go to parks
Activities like swinging, sliding, and running in the park improves the body balancing of pre-schoolers. You can even let them climb rope ladders and bridges since all of this will help a lot in building their body muscles.
3. Swimming sessions
Lastly, let your kid join a swimming class, since a regular swimming session develops coordination skills and even builds strong core muscles.
You have to guide and assist your kid a lot throughout their developmental journey, because then only they will develop skills that are needed to master the tasks of life. Avoid comparing your little one’s journey with someone else’s, as they are one of a kind, and unique!
I am writing 26 post in this series .Do check my earlier post