How can you make your child active to develop motor skills in your infant?
Motor skills are nothing but the movement of muscles. In the initial stages of birth, your baby starts gaining control of his arms and legs and his muscles start getting in sync, hence improvement in the motor skills helps your child to walk, crawl, run and move freely.
Motor skills can be divided into two categories: Gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills are movements related to arms, legs, etc. Fine motor skills are movements relating smaller muscles as present in wrists and hands. With good motor skills, babies can explore and discover their environment and learn new things.
Gross Motor skills help a child to develop strength and confidence. It helps them with their physical movements, exercise, play games, and other activities. Developing these skills in the initial phase will help your child, later in his life to do complex activities.
Fine motor skills help a child in doing tasks such as writing, eating among other tasks. By building on these skills, they learn how to apply them in their lives. Both gross and fine motor skills help a child to become independent.
Between 2-4 months of their birth, the baby’s grasp reflex is strong. They like holding on to things, you can give them small objects to grasp and hold on to. At 4-6 months, they try and grab both small and medium-sized objects. He’ll also try to put them in his mouth.
After 6 months, they can coordinate their muscles better and try to start crawling and move their head sideways. They also start holding on to larger things. From 8 -12 months they try and stand for a while with support.
Providing the right nutrition, keeping your baby protected from infectious diseases, letting him explore his surroundings are some of the factors leading to the proper development of motor skills. However, other activities play a role in the development of these skills.
Explore your house: Babies learn through the sense of touch, they interact with materials, touch them, grasp them and try to learn about them. Hence it is necessary to provide a safe environment for your child to explore places in your house. Let them go about and find out about different items by touching them. This will help in their muscle movement.
Hand out different objects: Give them various objects or items of different textures and shapes to touch or hold and it will help in the development of their fine motor skills. You can start by giving small objects and gradually increase the size too big items.
Games: Try and play with your child as much as possible. It is the best form of physical activity. You can throw a ball, or let them try and chase you, give them building blocks and other games to play. You can make a small fort, out of soft pillow cushions and let your baby try and climb it. You are allowing them to figure out, how to use their hands and legs to climb in it.
Encourage: Between 4-7 months of your child’s birth you can show him how to crawl and encourage him to do the same. You can make them stand or bounce them up and down so that they’ll start crawling and walking.
Dance: Dance with your baby, play different songs and see them groove in it. Make their arms move. In the initial months, they’ll start with moving their arms and hands and later they might even stand and wiggle. And as a bonus, you get to see your baby smile.
Tummy activities: Lay down your baby on her tummy and place different toys in front of her. This helps in neck and arms movement. Frequent tummy sessions will also help your infant to learn to crawl.
Feeding: Once your baby reaches 6 months of his age, he can consume solid or semi-food. And along with milk, he needs to be fed nutritious food to gain strength. Spoon-feeding has other benefits too, like making you babysit in a place for a while.
It requires great coordination to sit still, for a long time. You can also hand them over finger foods and encourage them to grab fruits and eat by themselves.
In the first few months of life, the nervous system and muscle movement start getting in sync. Your baby’s movements are jerky initially, but as they grow, they progress towards smoother movements.