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How to teach motor skills in children?

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Motor skills are developmental stages that children go through to move themselves. It is important to stimulate these skills in the right way.

In this article you can read all about motor skills and how you can stimulate them.

What are motor skills

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Motor skills in children: how do they develop?

Motor skills are essential to a child's development. Moving and developing skills go hand in hand with the development of the body and brain. It is important to realize that motor skills do not develop automatically, but must be learned. It is therefore very important that children are sufficiently stimulated to move and develop their skills.

Differences between children

It is important to realize that there are large individual differences between children when it comes to the development of motor skills. Some children develop faster than others and some children have more difficulty with certain skills. It is therefore important as a parent to take into account the individual development of your child and to encourage it where necessary.

Motor skills and play

Play is an important way for children to develop their motor skills. By moving and playing freely, children get to know their bodies and develop their skills. It is therefore important to give children enough space to play and exercise.

Why is a child's motor development important?

A child's motor development is an important part of overall development. Motor skills refer to the skills needed to move and perform various tasks. It includes both large motor skills, such as walking and jumping, and fine motor skills, such as writing and grasping small objects.

Importance of motor development

Healthy motor development is important for children for several reasons. First, it enables children to discover and understand the world around them. By moving and playing, children can discover new things and explore their surroundings. Second, it allows children to express themselves and communicate. Through movement, children can express their emotions and share their thoughts and feelings. Third, good motor development is important for achieving certain tasks, such as writing at school.

Importance of the environment

The environment plays an important role in a child's motor development. It is important to give children enough space to move and play. In addition, can games and activities are used to stimulate motor development. It is also important to consider the individual needs of the child and to seek advice from a professional if there are problems with motor development.

Positive consequences of healthy motor development

Healthy motor development can have several positive consequences for children. For example, it can lead to a better quality of life, better physical health and better social development. In addition, it can help reduce anxiety and improve behavior and learning at school.

Gross and fine motor skills: important skills in children's motor development

Gross motor skills includes the major movements of the body such as walking, running, jumping and climbing. These skills are learned and improved in several stages. For example, a baby starts rolling over and crawling, after which he or she learns to sit and stand. Only later does a child learn to walk and the movements become increasingly better coordinated. It is important to pay attention to a child's gross motor skills, because these skills are the basis for the further development of the body.

Fine motor skills: the small movements of the hands and fingers

Fine motor skills involves the small movements of the hands and fingers, such as grasping small objects, picking up a pen to write, turning a key in a lock, eating with a fork, and building with blocks. These skills are learned and improved in the early years of a child's life. For example, a baby starts by grasping things with his or her whole hand, while a toddler later learns to grasp objects with his or her fingers.

How do fine motor skills develop?

The development of fine motor skills begins at birth and continues until about age seven. In the first months, a baby learns to open and close his or her hands and to grasp objects. At about four months, a baby will begin to hit and grab at objects that are next to him or her. Around seven months, a baby can already grasp small objects between his or her fingers.

As a child grows older, he or she learns more and more sophisticated skills. For example, a toddler learns to use a shape sorter and to make drawings. At school, a child learns to write and draw. It is important to pay attention to fine motor skills, because these skills are necessary for writing and making other visual projects.

How can you improve fine motor skills?

There are several ways to improve a child's fine motor skills. With this you can think of:

  • Practice with games and toys, such as balls, play equipment, string or a shape sorter.
  • Paying attention to fine motor skills while eating, for example by letting the child eat with a fork or spoon.
  • Making drawings and other visual works.
  • Letting the child play with paint, clay, or other materials that help the child practice fine motor skills.

In addition, it is important to provide an environment in which a child can develop his or her fine motor skills. You can think of giving enough space to move and play, offering toys and materials that stimulate fine motor skills and giving the right guidance and support.

Why is the development of fine motor skills so important?

The development of fine motor skills is important because these skills are necessary for many daily activities, such as writing, drawing, cutting, building and creating visual projects. In addition, fine motor skills are important for a child's spatial orientation and body awareness. By practicing and improving fine motor skills, a child can learn and develop better.

Sensorimotor: the relationship between senses and movement

Sensorimotor is the relationship between senses and movement. This involves the ability to perceive stimuli from the environment and to respond to them through movement. This is a very important one skill for a child's development.

When does sensorimotor development begin?

The development of sensorimotor skills starts from birth. Newborns already have certain traits that help them self-regulate and move. For example, babies can turn their heads and follow their eyes. As a child gets older, it develops more and more possibilities to move and to deal with the environment.

Motor skills: aptitude or learning?

A frequently asked question is whether motor skills are innate or can be learned. The answer is that both factors play a role in the development of motor skills.

Talent

The aptitude for motor skills differs per individual. Some children are naturally more skilled than others. This has to do with the genetic predisposition of the child. However, this does not mean that children without aptitude cannot develop motor skills.

Develop through play

It is important that children are encouraged to be active and exercise at a young age. By moving playfully, children develop their motor skills in a natural way. This can be done, for example, by climbing, scrambling, running and cycling.

Development of motor skills in children at different age stages

In the first months after birth, the development of the child's motor skills is still in its infancy. Movement of the body is mainly reflexive. The child cannot yet hold his head upright and has little coordination and balance. However, learning motor skills already starts in this phase and it is important that parents help their child with this, for example by encouraging the child to move and play.

The young years

From about 6 months, the child starts to move better and better and there are major differences between children in the development of their motor skills. The child begins to crawl, sit and stand. Around the age of 1 year, the child can often already walk and starts throwing and catching a ball. The child's motor skills are still simple and mainly consist of gross motor skills. It is important that parents continue to stimulate their child and that the child gets enough exercise.

The primary school time

During primary school, the child's motor skills continue to develop. The child learns to move better and can practice more and more different forms of sports and exercise. Motor skills now consist not only of gross motor skills, but also of fine motor skills. The child learns to write, cut and draw and further develops his coordination and balance. It is important that children get enough exercise and that parents and teachers notice any developmental problems in good time and respond to them.

Puberty

In adolescence, the child's motor skills are basically fully developed. The child can now move well and has good coordination and balance. It is important that the child keeps moving and does enough sport to stay healthy. Sometimes, however, deviating developments can occur, for example due to a growth spurt or a lack of exercise. It is important that parents and teachers notice these developments in good time and respond accordingly.

Differences between age stages and individual functions

It is important to realize that there are major differences between the age stages and that the child's motor skills continue to develop. In addition, there are separate functions that are important for motor skills, such as coordination and balance. It is important for parents and teachers to keep a close eye on these functions and to identify and respond to any developmental problems in good time.

What if a child has a delay in motor skills?

A pediatric physiotherapist looks at the motor development of the child and can assess whether there is a delay. Together with the parent or carer, we can look at where the opportunities lie to improve motor skills. This can be done, for example, by doing exercises in a playful way.

How can you help as a parent?

As a parent you can also contribute to the development of your child's motor skills. It is important to give your child space to move and play. In addition, you can also do targeted exercises to improve motor skills. Think about:

  • Exercises to improve hand-eye coordination, such as throwing and catching balls
  • Exercises to improve balance, such as standing on one leg
  • Exercises to improve fine motor skills, such as cutting and drawing

By practicing in a playful way, your child can work on motor skills in a fun way.

Conclusion

Motor skills are important for children's development. It's about moving and developing motor skills comes naturally when children are stimulated enough to move. It is important to respect the individual development of the child and to stimulate it where necessary.

As your child develops motor skills, they will have healthy physical development, better social development, and a reduction in anxiety disorders. In addition, it will help improve behavior and learning at school.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.