Gross motor development is the process of refinement of all the big muscles of the body. It’s how your baby learns to coordinate his legs, mature his balance and use his body to run, jump, hop and skip.
Gross motor development forms the basis upon which fine motor skills develop. A child first needs to learn to sit up straight and strengthen his shoulders by crawling, climbing and hanging before his hands and fingers can be freed up for more refined and dexterous tasks such as writing, cutting or threading.
Remember, your baby is unique and will develop at his own unique pace
Starting from newborn, here are some important and exciting gross motor developments you can expect to see as your little one grows.
It’s important to note that babies do not always have the same developmental challenges in their spotlights at the same time. The real measure of your child’s development is how they’re progressing compared to themselves - not anyone else. Remember, your baby is unique and will develop at his own unique pace. A solitary delay or lag is usually nothing to worry about and does not indicate any long-term issues. Watch out for a cluster of issues, especially if the delays are in more than just one area of development as this may need to be investigated.
Spend time with your child and trust your intuition as they develop, taking a keen interest in what they are doing and how they are doing it. If you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s development you can find support from various professionals (paediatricians, therapists and teachers) and be proactive in providing opportunities to help them reach their true potential.
Your legs and lap are probably the most useful tools you have to promote your baby’s physical development. Tummy time directly on the floor is not always the most enjoyable activity for small babies. Try making it slightly easier and fun for them by putting your little one over your lap. Tummy time on the floor is still very important, but, by using your lap, there are a few extra elements that you can add to this activity to build additional strength. Jenny Lange, Physiotherapist for Nubabi
What to do:
Crawling is a complex activity that involves the co-ordination of little arms and legs, as well as co-ordinating the movement of the right and left side of the body. When your baby is rocking happily on her arms and legs, she may need a little help learning how to free up her limbs before she can begin to crawl. Jenny Lange, Physiotherapist for Nubabi
What to do:
Note: Be aware that your little one may initially tip forward as you are moving her leg and could fall forward. While allowing her to feel the movement of her body tipping forward is helpful for development, you do not want your little crawler to bump her head of the floor! If necessary, slide one of your hands under her tummy or place one of your hands over her shoulders to provide support until she is comfortable with the movement.
When your little one can pull himself up onto a small table and shift his weight onto both legs, he should be ready to cruise around low furniture. This activity will help with a little encouragement to get started. Jenny Lange, Physiotherapist for Nubabi
What to do:
For more activities to boost your baby’s Gross Motor Development and other developmental skills, visit Nubabi.
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