What is Motor Development in Children?

The ability to perform the movements necessary in daily life is called motor skill, and the appropriateness of the muscles used to perform these movements is called motor development. Motor development in children covers all kinds of activities, from feeding to walking, from playing to writing. The motor development process, which is completed significantly in the first 6 years of life and continues rapidly and increasingly, starts from the mother’s womb and is examined in four periods from birth onwards:

  1. Reflex Movement Period
  2. Primitive Movement Period
  3. Basic Movement Period
  4. Sports-Related Movement Period

The first period, which consists of reflexive movements such as breathing, swallowing, blinking, and sneezing, that begins as soon as a person comes to life and will continue for life, leaves its place to movement periods consisting of conscious movements. Babies, who start to control their reflexes in the 0-2 age range, experience the 2-7 age period where they can easily perform basic movements such as running, jumping and jumping after primitive movements such as balancing, crawling and crawling. In psychomotor development periods, basic movements are followed by sports-related movements.

Motor development, which is one of the four main areas of development and which we encounter as physical development, is also in interaction with other areas such as language development, cognitive development and social-emotional development. For example, a toddler now has access to more stimuli to perceive the world, which positively affects the child’s cognitive development. The child, whose cognitive development is strengthened, gains a predisposition to speech, and in this way, he goes a long way in social and emotional ways.

Motor development, which is related to the ability to move and touch, is examined in two categories as the development of fine motor and gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are activities that the child performs by using large muscles to perform large movements such as jumping, jumping, running, walking, swimming, and to establish balance, coordination and reaction.

Fine motor skills refer to smaller movements in the hands, fingers, feet, tongue, lips, and wrists. Fine motor skill activities are the activities of holding, grasping, using tools, using both hands, which require manual dexterity and generally known as hand-eye coordination, which involve the harmonious operation of the hands and fingers with the eyes.

Although fine motor skills are more difficult to observe in children than gross motor skills, children should be able to independently develop the following behaviors from infancy:

  • Ability to transfer objects from hand to hand in 3 – 6 months,
  • Ability to hold objects perfectly with the thumb and forefinger in 9-12 months, turn the pages of books,
  • Beginning to hold a pencil at 18 months and make simple scribbles
  • Being able to build towers with objects at the age of 2, trying to imitate simple tasks,
  • Being able to do puzzles at the age of 3, operate buttoned and mechanical toys, open and close the lids of bottles and jars,
  • 4 years old to be able to use scissors,
  • 5 – 6 years old to draw letters, numbers and shapes by imitation.

There are various activities that can be practiced with children to develop fine motor skills. Interweaving different sized containers, making various shapes with sand, play dough or sensory play materials, threading beads, playing different objects in water, playing with various puzzles, cutting and pasting various shapes and even making cookies together, activating tiny muscles and fine motor It will activate your skills.

In order to understand that gross motor development is progressing in a healthy way, some behaviors that can be observed in children can be listed as follows:

  • Shaking legs and arms in the first 2 months,
  • Ability to roll over, lie down, sit independently at 6 – 8 months
  • Ability to walk at 12 – 18 months
  • At the age of 2, he can jump on both feet, go up and down 3 steps, throw a ball towards a target of 1 – 1.5 meters,
  • Between the ages of 2 and 3, being able to walk in places where he needs to balance, such as curbs.

In order to contribute to the development of gross motor skills of children, first of all, it is necessary to provide a suitable environment for them to try physical activities and allow them to take action. Children, who learn many things by trial and error, also want to test the limits of their physical abilities by jumping, jumping and climbing, and they can develop new skills only in environments where they can move freely.

Motor development, starting from the head, neck, arms, legs, and following a path from the center to the periphery, continues towards the outer body, including the hands, feet and fingers. Although it is a predictable process, it is individual and the ways and times of acquisition are specific to the child. On the other hand, there may be deficiencies or disruptions in motor development due to neurological disorders or developmental delays. While the defects in gross motor development are visible, the lack of fine motor skills may not be noticed until the school process, which requires fine motor skills. Delays in fine motor skills become apparent when they interfere with performing basic school activities such as imitating shapes and letters and may not be diagnosed until this time.

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