5.7.21

Helping Your Child Develop their Gross Motor Skills

A small boy using a bowling aid in a bowling alley

Motor development is basically the strengthening and growth of a child’s muscles, bones and generally their ability to move and touch things. Fine motor skills require the use of the small muscles in the hands, fingers, wrists and are required to carry out everyday tasks, like tying shoes or handling a pen. Gross motor skills, on the other hand, involve the bigger muscles in the arms, legs and torso, that allow us to walk, run, throw, kick, skip etc. Parents should try and find ways to help their children develop these skills, so I have teamed up with an independent school in London to share some advice.

First of all, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the gross motor development milestones so that you know whether or not your child is progressing at a normal pace. For example, at six months they should be able to sit alone and crawl on their belly. By four years old they should be able to run, jump, climb and hop on one foot.

It’s also worth understanding that there are lots of different elements that make up gross motor skills, such as coordination, balance, muscle endurance, weight shifting and many more. With that said, it would be worth coming up with various different activities to do with your child to target these areas. Some children aren’t particularly fond of physical activity and prefer things like arts and crafts or board games, which is perfectly fine but won’t allow them to develop their gross motor skills. Here are some fun suggestions to inspire them:

  • Bowling
  • Hopscotch
  • Dancing
  • Trampolining
  • Ice Skating
  • Ball Games
  • Gardening
  • Tug of War
  • Obstacle Courses
  • Martial Arts
  • Cycling/Scootering

These activities are all great for helping with stability, motor planning and accuracy, muscle strength and hand-eye coordination. As well as fun activities, it’s also important to give your child some independence to do things on their own, so don’t run to their rescue whenever they need you. For instance, let them carry their own school bag, even if they’re complaining that it’s heavy, as this will help them build strength. In fact, next time you go food shopping, ask them to help you carry it from the car into the house. What’s more, you should encourage them to get dressed on their own in the morning as this involves balance and hand-eye coordination.

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