Motor Skills Development in the Child

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During the 2nd year of life according to Gesell A.; Developmental diagnosis: Normal and abnormal child development, clinical methods and pediatric applications, the child’s motor skills continue to develop. This can be observed through child’s activities such as:

  • Goes freely
  • Rarely falls
  • Sits on a chair alone
  • Shoots and throws the ball
  • Arranges cubes
  • Plays with various objects
  • Browses books
  • Scribbles on paper
  • Drags bound objects
  • Feed itself

At the end of the age when the child is young, the typical restlessness and uncertainty of disappears. After the age of 3, the child is already able to run, speeding and slowing down with ease, climbing stairs without any help, jumping from a higher position and lending on both feet.

By that time, the child can already make a tower of 9-10 cubes, unlike a 2 years’ old who manages to arrange only 6-7 cubes at a time. The lines that it draws on paper become more defined. From the end of 2nd to the end of 4th year, there are 5 stages in developing motor skills – Biber B.: Children’s drawings from lines to pictures:

  • Child draws on paper and puts dots on it
  • Draws more specific lines of paper
  • With the lines closes a certain surface, i.e. draws a certain object
  • Aligns multiple characters’ side by side
  • Gives the drawing some content

Already in the 2nd year, besides toys and other items, the child should be given paper and crayons. But it is pointless to look for a certain meaning in a small child’s drawing. It should not be inquired what it is, because the child is still developing and understanding the concept – the drawing skill. The young child does not care what will be the final result of its drawing. It draws in order to draw, because it causes pleasure, not wanting to draw something specific.

At the age of 4, the child makes significant progress on certain motions across the motor. In this period the already mentioned principle of individualization is emphasized. For example, in the 2nd and 3rd year of life, it can only push the ball in front of it and roll it with the help of certain movements of the limbs or the whole body. Now the child is able to swing its hand vigorously and to throw the ball independently of the torso. Simultaneously to individualization, movements are more successfully integrated into a harmonious whole, so that the child becomes more involved in performing more complex motor activities. It reflects the principle of integration in its psychophysical development.

For a 5-year-old, it is characteristic to achieve balance and movement safety. During this period the fine movements of the small muscles of the arm are defined. Gesell A.: Developmental diagnosis: Normal and abnormal child development, clinical methods and pediatric applications, states that at this age, a child can collect a dozen balls for 20 seconds and put them in a bottle one at a time. At this stage of development, the child draws a human contour in such a way that parts of the human body can be recognized.

The older a child is, the more his motor activities are the result of exercise, and less as a result of maturation of his nervous system and muscle. However, child growth and physical fitness will for a long time be an important prerequisite for acquiring complex motor skills.

The boys already in the early childhood learn more motor skills than girls of the same age. But, Bayley N.: The development of motor abilities during the first three years’ research shows that there is no inherent difference of motor skills in sexes. Therefore, it seems that boys’ greater agility in movement is due to the fact that most of the parents encourage boys to practice and improve motor skills than they do with the girls.

The motor of a very young child is still undetermined, as the child grows up, its movements become defined. They are increasingly serving a specific, conscious purpose. Thus, a 2-year-old child moves the wheel toy around the room with no clear purpose, а 4-year-old in this game already simulates driving a car, train and the like. For proper mental development, it is especially important for the child to acquire motor skills as early as possible to perform those activities that meet his or her personal needs. It then acquires hygienic and cultural habits, such as self-nutrition, self-execution of physiological needs, dressing, and so on. These are activities that greatly contribute to the child’s independence and thus to the growing self-esteem that is one of the main drivers of his emotional maturity.

Already at the end of the 2nd year, and especially during the 3rd year, the child can gradually learn to dress and undress itself. In the beginning, it does that only partially, performing simpler operations on the way of dressing. Even at age 5, a child will fully master the skill of dressing. Doing the buttons and tying the shoelaces will remain a problem they will eventually overcome, as these activities require more sophisticated activity on the small muscles of the arm.

Practicing self-dressing should not be forced. It takes a lot of patience and systematic encouragement to master the technique. To get your child used to bathing regularly, washing their hands and teeth, as well as acquiring all other hygienic and cultural habits, a positive daily example from the parents is important. If they practice healthy and cultured behavior, the child will imitate it without difficulty, almost unknowingly adopting new habits.

As a child grows up, he performs various activities faster and uses more and more energy to perform them. Individual differences among children occur when performing activities. The speed of movement depends on the child’s temperament. A calm, phlegmatic child cannot be expected to move as vigorously as his or her most energetic peer. Extrovert children are usually faster and more experienced than introverted children. Boys at all periods of growth show greater muscle strength than girls.

This review of early childhood motor development shows that motor skills improvement is influenced by several factors:

  • Innate traits
  • Growth
  • Health status
  • Practice

There are children who perform certain skills easier and more fully than others. The reason is the natural talent for certain motor activities, which is later manifested in various human motor abilities, even with above average sporting achievements.

Healthy, normally developed children mature faster and better at shaping motor skills than their inferior peers, such as rickets and children with some growth retardation. A damaged brain during intrauterine life or during childbirth can significantly impede or even completely disrupt the normal development of motor skills. Thus, children with mental disabilities regularly display clumsiness, slowness, unformed movements and lack of fine movements in their motor skills, which makes their motor skills limited.

Maturation of the nervous system and musculature allows for the activity of certain activities, and exercise stimulates the maturation of neural structures in the child’s body. Growth and exercise, opportunities and their use are correlated and interdependent. When shaping the motor, the child should not be left alone to itself and its innate impulses. The parent’s task is to constantly encourage them in these activities, give them the opportunity to practice them freely, reward the child with every success in acquiring skills and encourage them when they fail or hesitate before certain difficulties. The parent should show the child how to do the action, give them instructions and set an example for themselves.

The healthy development of motor skills has a positive effect on shaping the psyche. Not limiting a child’s physical activity gives the child a sense of security and self-esteem, increasing his stability, boldness, calmness and pleasure. A well-developed motor enables the child to get to know his world more easily, to gain a rich experience in the continuous expansion of his perception of space. Motor skills are a powerful stimulus for activating and shaping latent intellectual abilities, facilitating contact with other children and contributing to the social maturity.