Motor Development 8 months - 3 years

Developing Motor Skills: 8 months – 3 years

Last week I wrote about the development of motor skills from birth to 8 months old. Let’s look at how they next develop…. 

During 8 – 14 months babies learn to pull to standing, walk along furniture, and may walk alone. There are known as Gross Motor (GM) skills. They can stand and then lower themselves to the floor (not drop down), and they begin to go up and down stairs, usually by climbing. They now use the  pincer hold – they pick up objects using their fingers (instead of the palm of their hand), and are beginning to stack blocks. These are known as Fine Motor skills (FM).

 

You can help your toddler by: Once the baby is able to pull to standing, you can encourage the next level of movement, by placing an interesting object just a few steps along the sofa or whatever they are resting against. Finger food is great once they start using the pincer hold – give them small piece of appropriate food, whilst supervising in case of any choking hazards.

 

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Motor Development

Developing Motor Skills: Birth – 8 months

Motor development refers to the muscles – both large and small, in our bodies.

Gross Motor (GM) are the large muscles in our head and neck, arms and legs.

Fine Motor (FM) refers to the small muscles in your fingers, and eyes.

 

Children develop their muscles from top to bottom, and inner to outer. This means that babies’ muscles develop and strengthen first from the head, then torso, then legs; and from their arms and then out to their fingers.

Remember that wobbly, very heavy head when babies are first born? Gradually over the first few weeks they are more able to control their neck muscles to hold their head upright.

Children develop their muscles through opportunity to exercise them, at the appropriate time. Here’s a summary of the muscle skills they are developing, the approximate time frames for them, and how you can help them:

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the-terrific-twos

The TERRIFIC Two’s

How often do you hear people saying: “She’s in the Terrible Two’s” when they are rationalising their child’s behaviour? It’s a statement which is often heard.

Imagine for a moment… If I was your close friend, and I told you that you were going to have a bad day tomorrow, with the weather, the traffic, phone calls etc. Your brain would automatically go onto ‘red alert’ – you would enter the day, prowling for problems, ready for action. You would notice every little thing that was wrong with the day – the postman was late, the weather man got the prediction wrong, the coffee wasn’t as hot as it should be etc. When we ‘pre-condition’ our brain to see problems, we become almost like an expert in finding them – it’s as if we are wearing special ‘problem’ glasses which enable us to see all the problems in our day, and to hardly notice the things which go well, as we’re too busy looking for what’s wrong.

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The 5 Essential Things to Grow Healthy, Active Children

The 5 Essential Things to Grow Healthy, Active Children

We become healthy humans, not just through the foods we eat and the activity we engage in, but also though the messages we receive and the raising of our positive self-esteem. You can assist your children by:

1. Being a role model yourself.

We all know that children are like little sponges – they copy what we say and do – regardless of whether we are doing something ‘good’ eg eating an apple, or being polite; or something ‘not so good’ like yelling, or smoking in the car. Young children don’t screen or filter this information, they just copy it – ‘If it’s good enough for Mum or Dad, it’s good enough for me!’ So, if you want healthy children, lead by example with the food you eat, the exercise you do, and the attitudes you display.

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Pre writing skills - dougbelshaw

Pre-Writing Skills

How does writing start?

In education, the stage before writing is referred to as Pre-Writing, and it starts with drawing.

Initially the toddler will draw continuous scribbles, with whatever implement you give him and on any surface! (more about that later!). He will grasp the pencil by clutching it in the palm of his hand.

At some stage, the child will make ‘separated scribbles’ – this happens when the child scribbles, lifts the pencil, and then starts again elsewhere on the paper.

The next stage is when left to right scribbles are done in lines. (May be right to left)

Next, letter-like shapes are drawn, though far from ‘perfectly formed’.

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boys-need-to-play-with-dolls

Why Boys Need to Play with Dolls

How many women do you know who complain that their partners or husbands ‘never’ help around the house? Over the years as a mother and a Parenting Consultant, I’ve heard far more complaints, than praise about the men’s housekeeping participation. This also seems to be born out by researchers who claim that females still do the bulk of the housework.

Why do you think that this is the case?

I believe part of it stems from the early messages children take on board from their parents. We know young children are almost like sponges, picking up on all we, as parents, say and do. Children don’t filter the messages, they just see it as ‘the norm’ – meaning that this is how we should behave. Therefore, if  we as children grew up with Mum doing all the housework, then I will believe that’s how I must behave. And, that’s what I will teach my children. So, our children will also have received the message that housework is for females!

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Mother and child walking through a japanese garden.

Going For a Walk

Today I went for a walk through a quaint little town, exploring it and the surroundings. As I walked, I noticed a beautiful feather on the ground and picked it up. Immediately it reminded me of walking with my young children some years ago.

We regularly went walking whether it was around our property (we lived in a rural area), around town, at the beach or in the bush. As we walked, I always seemed to have a ‘Collector’ with me….. at least one of my children would be in a collecting mode, and I learnt to always carry a small basket or bag for their collections. Sometimes it was leaves, other times it was shells, and sometimes it was stones – from pebbles to rocks! The child would decide if the speciman was ‘worth’ collecting….. maybe based on the colour, the size, the shape, some patterns on it, or just because they liked it! As they collected, they would be describing to me, what was special about it.

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Pink for girls blue for boys by janetmck

So, What’s Wrong with Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys?

This week I needed to purchase some new toys for a Playgroup I run. ‘That’s easy’, I thought, as I headed to the nearest toy store. The various Parenting Consultant positions I’ve held over the past 14 years have all come with fully set up rooms. So, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a toy store! Frankly, I must say that I was horrified at the sexism and consumerism I was confronted with. Aisles and aisles of pink toys for girls and blue/ green for boys. And, the vast majority of toys had TV/ movie characters on them as logos. Is this what we want for our children – to be pigeon holed into gender based stereotypes, and to be on the consumer trail from 2 years of age?

The pink, ‘girl stuff’’ was basically projecting images of a demure, delicate, gentle child, and many toys were of a domestic nature. The ‘boy toys’ projected toughness adventure and, with bold or military colours.

This push towards ‘girly pink’ or a ‘baby blue’ for boys, begins at birth. No, actually, it begins prior to birth when many parents want to know the gender of the child so that they can decorate the room pink or blue. (And yes, I know there are many other reasons why parents want to know the gender). Then once baby arrives often gifts are received, and again the parents have the gender of the child defined by colour , with pink and blue as predominate.

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Two young children playing in the creek

Developing a Curious Child

“Oh he’s into everything” complains a Mother. “She’s always pulling things apart”, states a Dad. It’s always said to me like a complaint, as if it’s a bad thing to have a curious child!

Curious children are GREAT – it means their developing brain is seeking to understand, to know how and why things work (or don’t work), to understand ‘what happens if I do xyz…..’ and does the same thing happen if I do it twice, or 12 times? A curious child is the result of a learning brain, and that’s a GREAT thing! People who are curious are the ones who become explorers, researchers, musical composers or inventors. This may be in any field of science, music, the environment, the arts etc Or it may be in the social world, or understanding how people interact or communicate – so many possibilities!

How do we assist the growth of curiosity in our developing children?

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Child sitting on the floor, intently doing puzzle

What are the best toys for children? One is…. Jigsaw Puzzles.

 

In my role as a Parenting Consultant, parents and grandparents often ask me about buying toys for their children or grandchildren. They want to know what are the ‘best’ ones. Obviously the age and ability of the child is a consideration, but 2 of my favourites are jigsaw puzzles and board games.

Puzzles can be introduced to toddlers around age one, with a toy which has balls to drop into a hole. This starts to teach them to hold an object, to position it, and then to let it drop through. The easiest shape to insert is a circle, as it will fit which ever way you hold it!

Next comes a shape sorter toy. You hold the container and let baby select a shape. Read more