What is Motor Development in Babies, How Is It Developed?

We’re sure you’ve heard the concepts of gross and fine motor skills often. You know it’s important, but when it comes to motor development in babies, you don’t know enough about the content. Don’t worry, in this article, we have included all the details you need to know, from small muscle development groups to games about fine and gross motor development. Let’s start!

What is motor skill?

> We call motor skill the ability to perform behaviors that provide harmonious motor movements to perform an action. In order to perform these movements in a coordinated way, the mind needs to give correct and timely commands.

What is motor development in infants?

When it comes to growth, the physical development of the child should come to mind. On the other hand, you should perceive development as the acquisition of skills according to the age of the child. Since the muscles in the necks of newborn babies are not strong enough, it is necessary to support the heads of the babies. It is a tiny example of motor development when your baby starts to do this alone.

Motor skills are divided into two as fine and gross motor skills.

What are gross motor skills in babies?

Gross motor skills; We can explain it as the functionality that occurs in large muscle groups that provide the baby’s trunk, arm and leg movements. We can list these major muscle skills in children as follows:

  • Ability to hold head upright
  • Rotation,
  • Sitting,
  • Crawling,
  • Walk,
  • Bounce,
  • be balanced,
  • The ability to control the body.

Newborns have very limited motor skills. Many movements are not voluntary, as their muscles have not yet developed and their central nervous systems have not yet achieved muscle control; They do it reflexively. Gross motor development in infants starts with keeping the head upright and continues towards the feet.

Unsupported sitting is one of the most important developmental steps of gross motor skills. We know that there are many problems such as “ how many months do babies sit ”, “ when do babies walk ”. This is all about gross motor development! You can have information about the development time of these skills from the table below.

gross motor skillsAge
head control2-3 is
prone-prone rolling4-6,5 is
Unsupported sitting6-9 is
unaided walking10-18 is
Going up and down stairs (holding on)20-26 is
Jumping on one leg3.5-4.5 years

What are fine motor skills in babies?

Fine motor skills emerge when the child is able to work the muscles in his hands and fingers. We can examine this group, which we also call small muscle skills, under 3 headings.

hand grip

While babies are in the newborn period, they can instinctively grasp some objects with their hands, but they cannot consciously hold objects until the 4th month. In the first months, you may see more grabbing, reaching, and bringing to the mouth movements. Along with crawling, children’s fine motor skills begin to develop. Thus, they approach the objects consciously and start to hold them in a controlled manner over time.

finger grip

As the fine muscles in your baby’s hands begin to develop and their experience in this area increases, they can start to use their fingers better. Skills such as grasping objects with fingertips, holding some objects by the tip, pointing with fingers are evaluated within the scope of fine motor development. You can also consider skills such as holding a pencil and turning a book page, which you will see in the future, in this context.

hand-eye coordination

Hand-eye coordination usually starts with the baby’s 4th month. After this process, the baby can follow the moving objects with his eyes and try to catch or catch them by turning to where he is.

You can learn about fine motor development in children from the table below.

fine motor skillsAge
Joining your hands to the midline3-4 is
don’t reach for the item4-6 is
Joining the thumb and index fingers, catching objects with these fingers9-12 is
paper doodle18-24 is
vertical line drawing2-3 years

Fine and gross motor development in children by age

0-3 months baby motor development

Gross motor skills: When lying on his back or face, he can turn his head, bend his arms and legs more easily, put his hands in the middle, kick with his legs. While lying prone, he can lift his head and hips by taking support from his forearms.

Fine motor skills: He can spread his fingers and toes like a fan, he can grasp the outstretched finger with his hand.

4-6 months baby motor development

Gross motor skills: Can lift head to look at feet while lying on back, can sit with support in cradle or stroller. When standing on a hard surface, it can jump by pressing the floor, and can turn prone when lying on its back. He can hold his legs vertically by raising them, and can throw a series of kicks. He can turn his head from side to side to look around, and in the prone position he can lift his head and chest very well.

Fine motor skills: He can grasp his feet with his hands in the supine position, can begin to reach objects consciously towards the sixth month.

7-9 months baby motor development

Gross motor skills: Can sit alone for 10-15 minutes without support. He can consciously bend down to pick up the object in front of him, effectively moving his whole body. It can roll on the ground, rotate its body comfortably. He may try to crawl, pull himself up and stand up holding on to a support, but cannot sit back.

Fine motor skills: Can point at objects with fingers, grasp objects with thumb and forefinger.

9-12 month baby motor development

Gross motor skills: Can sit on the floor for a long time, can move from lying to sitting position. He can crawl on his hands and knees. Can stand up and sit back holding on to a support, walk while holding on.

Fine motor skills: Can grasp objects with fingertips, play with toys consciously. It can hold spoon and fork, self-feeding.

12-18 months baby motor development

Gross motor skills: Can walk for long distances safely and accurately. He can run for a while, but when an obstacle is in his way, he cannot overtake it. Can push and pull boxes or toys. Can go up and down stairs, climb up chairs, and turn to sit when held by the hand.

Fine motor skills: Can move multiple objects by grasping with fingers, can turn book pages back and forth on their own. He can build a tower by easily grasping wooden cubes with his hand.

2 years of motor development

Gross motor skills: Can run easily, stop at will, overcome obstacles. Easily crouches down to pick up an object, can stand up again without using hands. It can stand on tiptoe. Clinging to the railing, he can go up and down stairs on his own, hit the ball in front of him, but often misses the target.

Fine motor skills: With the 2-year-old fine motor development, the ability to use fingers effectively increases. In the same way, the child can put the objects in their place, easily open the wrapping paper of small candies. He can hold the pen by grasping it with his whole hand and scribble.

3 years of motor development

Gross motor skills: Can change feet up and down stairs, deftly climb on playground equipment. It can overcome obstacles and turn corners while running. He can stand on one leg for a certain period of time, throw the ball in his hand above shoulder level. He can sit with his ankles on top of each other.

Fine motor skills: Can string thick beads on a string, hold a pencil with thumb and forefinger. With the 3-year-old fine motor development, the child can now use scissors, understand the logic of the jigsaw and put the pieces together using their fingers.

4 year old motor development

Gross motor skills: Can run up and down stairs, use tricycle well. Can pick up objects by leaning forward without bending the knees. He has gradually developed in subjects such as throwing, catching and hitting the ball.

Fine motor skills: Can handle small objects with ease. Can hold the pen like an adult. He can draw and paint figures like stickman, house.

5 years of motor development

Gross motor skills: Can easily walk on a fine line, run on tiptoe. She can dance while keeping up with the music playing, bend over and touch her feet without bending her knees. Can play games with rules.

6 years old motor development

Gross and fine motor development of the child is almost at an adult level. Whatever you do, your 6-year-old can do it too. With the 6-year-old fine motor development, the child can now cut food using a dinner knife. It can form different shapes by arranging the cubes in detail. Progress in the use of scissors. With the start of school, all the skills that are missing in terms of motor development will be completed.

> The absence or insufficient level of some of these expected skills may indicate motor developmental delay in infants. Developmental delay in children is not only caused by physical symptoms; It can also lead to language development, cognitive development, social and emotional development retardation. For this reason, it is necessary to follow the psychomotor development periods well.

Things to do for baby motor development

The motor development of babies is based on the proper development of the neuromuscular structure and the environmental factors that will support this development. In other words, it is not right to expect the development of neuromuscular structure alone. Well, let’s take a look at what kind of roles parents have to contribute to motor development in children.

  • Holding an object may not be so important to you, but it is important for your child’s small muscle development. That’s why you should encourage him to repeat these moves.
  • You shouldn’t be afraid of your child because he will get hurt. For example, not taking him off your lap in case he falls may delay his walking. You don’t have to worry after you take the necessary precautions in your home to avoid damage.
  • You can play games about gross motor development with your child during the basic movements period. You can put small objects in front of him and encourage him to crawl to reach for them. You can hide behind it and call out to your baby and get him to come back to you. Such small games are very useful for motor development in children.
  • You can buy educational toys for your child so that he can use his newly acquired skills. Educational toys are very useful for developing fine motor skills.
  • Various hand-toe movements are very effective for fine motor exercises. You can help your child develop fine motor skills with finger stretching movements.
  • You can spend time with activities that will encourage the use of scissors and various objects. Enabling him to color and cut and shape the coloring papers you print out allows him to have a pleasant time and to develop his motor skills.
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