Did you know that just as reading and other skills must be taught in early childhood, so too must motor skills be taught?
The body plays a big role in cognitive development, and physical development skills are just as important as teaching mental, emotional, personal, and language skills. When children don’t get the help they need to learn physical skills such as crawling, walking, running, or climbing, many never fully master gross (large muscle) motor skills. While we do as much as we possibly can to help nurture the development of gross motor skills at the center, it is equally as important for parents to provide opportunities at home as well.
Summer is the perfect time to introduce new and strengthen already developed gross motor skills. Children can participate in swimming lessons as young as infancy. Toddlers and Preschoolers can ride tricycles and run around in the yard. You could make an obstacle course out of things you already have at home. You can even play catch with your children from infants to preschool age. The older children can also kick balls back and forth with you. Children at any age can “chase” bubbles. Have a dance party. Let your imagination run wild. Any physical large muscle movement will be beneficial in your child’s growth.
If you suspect a child has a problem with mastering certain gross motor skills, the first thing to do is ensure he gets more practice. If your child does not swing their arms when they walk or run, try putting bells on Velcro for a bracelet around their wrists and have them make the bells jingle. If they have trouble with alternating movements or descending or climbing stairs, you can play a game of hopscotch with them. Please remember that each child achieves developmental milestones at a different pace, so unless after much practice you have not seen any growth, please discuss any concerns with your child’s pediatrician.
Ivy Academy West