Motor development refers to the increase in a child’s muscular strength, bones and flexibility to be able to touch and move his/her environment. A child’s motor development normally falls in two different categories: gross motor and fine motor. Gross motor refers to the movement of a child’s body parts such as eyes, ears, mouth, and nose, while fine motor refers to the movement of a child’s non-living body parts such as toes, fingers and toes. Children have the capacity for both gross and fine motor development, but the amount of time spent on gross motor is much higher than the one on fine motor.
There are several factors that can influence children’s motor development. First and foremost are the age of the child. As a child gets older his/ her body starts to become weaker, with no exceptions. This process of weakening happens because children grow faster and their bones are growing at an abnormal rate, as opposed to the rate of growth of muscles. Some of the main causes of this development include: excessive physical activity, being sedentary, unhealthy diets, and genetics. In addition to these reasons, anemia may also cause weakening of the child’s bones. In infants, this happens because of the growth hormone deficiency, when their growth plates become inactive.
Children’s motor development may be affected by health problems as well. If you think your child might have weak bones or are in need of joint or skeletal support, consult with your physician immediately. Children with weak bones can get a bone deformity. This deformity is called a metacarpal fracture and can affect the movement of the child’s hand.
Some children may not have a problem with gross motor but have problems with fine motor; this usually occurs in children with developmental disorders such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or Cerebral Palsy. The fine motor abilities of a child vary greatly between children and it is important to know what areas of your child’s body are affected in order to take necessary steps to improve them. It is best to be aware of the skills and movements of your child so you can do something about them.
The second category of motor development is gross motor; this refers to skills such as kicking, hopping, and balancing. These activities are considered as basic motor movements. However, gross motor does not refer to everyday physical activities such as playing sports or playing games. These are examples of gross motor activities. For example, gross motor is not just playing hopscotch, it also includes: crawling, standing up, and walking.
Motor development in children can affect both physical and mental development. Most physical education programs incorporate gross motor activities in order to teach children how to move their bodies and to develop their minds. Children with developmental disabilities can also benefit from gross motor skills through physical education and physical therapy.