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What Is Motor Skill Development? Know Their Types, Importance And Stages Of Development

Motor skills are important for the growth of children. Know the types and stages of motor development in children.

Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Nov 18,2021
Updated at: Nov 18,2021

Every task we perform needs proper coordination and support from our muscles and tissues in the body. This coordination between muscles, movement and functioning is called motor skills. These skills start developing from an early age in childhood and it is important for the smooth functioning of the body. There are two types of motor development, gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills focus on the large muscles present in the body whereas fine motor skills are based to focus on the fine movements and controls that take place. Today we will understand different types of movements and stages of development of these skills.

Why are motor skills important?

Motor skills are important because they are used in everyday life. We have Dr. Sumeet Nigam, General Physician from Sahara Hospital to tell you about different motor skills and their importance. Even the smallest functions or movements such as sitting, standing, or walking properly need these motor skills. Motor skills are basically the coordination the brain has with the body muscles to perform almost all certain activities and movements. 

Without motor skills you would not be able to do anything productive, small infants do not have motor skills in the beginning, so you can imagine what all functions you may be able to do. Motor skills are developed in children from time to time. First the major muscles movements are discovered and developed that are known as gross motor skills. Then the fine movements and controls are developed to perform high degree action or precision in tasks.

Gross Motor Skills

These skills allow large muscles to create proper balance of the body. It also allows you to have coordination, improves reaction time and physical strength for doing any activity. Gross motor skills are majorly developed from the age of 1 year and more. The baby first starts to stand on his feet, creates balance or sits on his own. These movements are actually a part of growth of gross motor skills in the body.

Fine Motor Skills 

Fine motor skills are more precise movements that majorly start developing from the very beginning or birth. The most crucial development takes from 1-3 years of age. This is the stage in which the child learns to hold things properly, have hand eye coordination, pick up things, do certain small activities, etc. Fine motor skills keep developing for a long time, mostly from birth till the age of 10-12 years. The development of fine motor skills does not stop there but majority of development occurs at this age. The age of development can vary a bit depending on every individual as some children develop skills little late. 

Different Stages of Fine Motor Development

1. From birth till 3 months

In this initial stage, the child starts to use his arm muscles. Mostly they discover their arm movement and leg movement. You must have observed that children tend to put their fingers or hands inside their mouth at this stage the most. This is because of the initial development of fine motor skills.

2. From 3- 6 months

After three months, the child tends to you both their hands simultaneously. He tends to transfer different objects or things from one hand to another. He may even try to hold his both hands together and understand the functioning of their hands. In this stage, fine motor development makes the child reach for toys and things they like. 

3. From 6-9 months 

This is the time when the child tries to grasp or take a hold of something. In this stage of fine motor development, parents tend to give some light food in their hands for them to eat. Children of 6-9 months are able to squeeze certain objects, hold a bottle or objects in their hands and make use of their fingers to do certain fun activities.

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 4. Age 9 to 12 months

In this stage of fine motor development, motor functions become more precise and the child is able to show preference to a certain object. For example the child may leave one toy to get another which he likes more. This is the time of development when children start throwing things and try to develop their fine motor skills.

Some fun activities are also introduced in this stage for their further development. These activities include-

  • Putting small object in containers
  • Determining difference in colours 
  • Turning pages of the books or magazine
  • Try to feed themselves or having some snacks on their own

5. From age 12-18 months

In this stage of motor development, the fine skills become more evident and functions of child become more precise. This may include playing with toys to keep one thing over another, clap their hands, scribble over paper with crayons or say goodbye or wave to people around them.

6. 18 months to 2 years of age

In this stage the person is able to hold crayons using fingertips and starts making scene in what he does. There is major development and fine skills in whatever the child does as he tries to discover more activities and fun games to indulge in. Now the activities may include-

  • Discovering different objects and keeping them in their distinguished boxes
  • Putting rings on pegs
  • Opening packaged items or containers
  • Making little sense in drawing of objects 
  • Turns doors to open if they are in their reach
  • Wash their hands or move them together
  • Zip or unzip large zippers
  • Playing with clay or dough etc

7. From ages 2-3 years

This shows a major preciseness in his action. The child is almost ready to go to his first school. Hence fine motor skills develop rapidly at this pace. He is able to fold paper, keep books in his bag, play with buttons, listening to instructions and following them or Drawing a circle or a particular figure on the page. All these examples are of fine motor skills present in the age between 2-3 years.

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8. From age 3-5 years

At this stage most crucial fine motor skills are developed which also helps the child in later stages of their life. Children tend to learn different things and do most of their routine functions on their own. Fine motor skills in this age includes

  • Getting dressed and undressed by their own
  • Having sensitivity towards touching certain objects
  • Use of cutlery and eating their own food
  • Grasping pencil or pens properly
  • Ties shoelaces and button up by himself etc

9. After age 5 years and above

Children with fine motor skills have the tendency to build blocks, create certain structures, solve puzzles and use their functions to do some major development. Children start going to school and learn many new different things. They use their fine motor skills to play, read and write properly. They are now able to make use of scissors and some other equipments of their use. This goes on and fine motor skills develop with growing age.

Picture Credits- Pixabay.com

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