Helping your child develop their gross motor skills can be quite humorous. Essentially this means your child developing the skills needed to control the large muscles in their bodies. Think of activities such as walking, running, crawling, climbing, and jumping.
Many times children will learn these skills through curiosity – today is the day that I learn to roll over! Many times though, we need to help our children along with learning these movements. We may help our child learn to crawl by placing them on their tummies to get in ‘position’.
Encouraging our child’s gross motor skills often involves a safe open play area where they can explore and try new things. Depending on the age of your child will depend on the skills they are ready to learn. A new born baby will start off by developing the skill to hold their head up – developing the strong neck muscles. However a toddler will start to explore and want to learn the skill of climbing stairs and working on their control of their legs.
We want to provide every opportunity possible to allow our children to get active and learn these skills. Help them along where necessary, but also let them fall and get back up again. Let them learn independence and how to solve their own problems.
Think of your child learning to stand for the first time. The first time, dad holds his hands and helps him balance. By day 3 baby is holding onto the couch for support but falls frequently. However, baby keeps pulling himself up as he wants to learn this skill and master standing.
Keep in mind that every child is different, and will master these skills all at different ages in their young lives. That being said, we can continue to encourage and help them along when necessary.