What Are Gross Motor Skills?

Gross motor skills are the abilities that a child develops as they learn to control their larger muscle groups. These include being able to walk, run, jump, climb, throw and catch objects, kick balls and ride a bicycle.

Gross motor skills are essential for everyday movement and development. They refer to the ability of our body’s largest muscles—the ones associated with arms, legs and trunk—to move in a coordinated, purposeful way.

These skills enable us to stand, walk, run and climb; they even help infants sit up and crawl at the appropriate developmental stage. As vital as these gross motor movements are in children’s growth and development, how can we encourage them?

Read on to learn more about gross motor skills development and discover what parents, caregivers, pediatric physiotherapists or any adult helping with child care can do to foster this critical aspect of child-rearing.

Note that Pillars of Wellness offer gross motor skills development in Burlington. So, if you are living in the area, we're here to help.

How Do Children Develop Gross Motor Skills?

Every child is different—but there is an expected sequence of gross motor milestones that most children reach by the time they’re a certain age. A baby begins to gain control of their gross motor skills during the first year of life, through activities such as rolling over, sitting up and crawling.

As they grow older, toddlers practice walking and running; preschoolers learn how to jump and catch objects. During school-age years, children can master more complex activities such as hopping, skipping and throwing a ball with accuracy.

When Should a Child Be Checked for Gross Motor Skills Development?

It’s important to keep track of your child’s gross motor milestones. If your child is behind in their development, it may be useful to seek the help of a pediatric physiotherapist specialized in gross motor skills development.

At each well-child visit, your physiotherapist should be asking questions and conduct an exam that assesses how your child is doing with gross motor skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children receive gross motor skills development screening when they are 9 months old, 18 months old, 30 months old and at their 4-year well-child visit.

Signs That A Child Is Experiencing Gross Motor Difficulties

If your child is having difficulty reaching milestones related to gross motor skills, they may be at risk of developing a motor skill disorder. This can manifest in many ways, and some signs to look out for include:

• Difficulty moving around (crawling, walking or running)

• Avoidance of certain movements or activities

• Trouble maintaining balance

• Poor coordination and clumsiness

• Difficulty with self-care tasks such as brushing teeth or getting dressed

• Reduced endurance for physical activities


How Can Parents Help Encourage Gross Motor Skills?

Parents can stimulate the expansion of their child's gross motor skills through a variety of activities. To start, ensure your child has numerous chances to be physically active and stay healthy.. This could include swimming, sports or playing on playgrounds.

Second, provide your child with plenty of space and time to practice their gross motor skills. If you have a small living area, take them outdoors—lawns, parks or playgrounds are all great places to practice physical activities.

Finally, get creative! Make up games (like tag) or physical activities (such as obstacle courses) to help your child build their gross motor skills. This will help them develop new movement patterns and increase their coordination at the same time!

Nurturing and developing a child's gross motor skills is essential to their overall physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. With ample practice, guidance, and encouragement, children can learn how to control their large.

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How Does A Pediatric Physiotherapist Help Your Child With Gross Motor Skills Development?

A pediatric physiotherapist can assess your child’s gross motor skills and develop a treatment plan to help them reach their developmental milestones. Our pediatric physiotherapist is a highly-trained professional who specializes in the assessment and treatment of physical problems related to movement, coordination, balance, flexibility and strength, to name a few.

Through an individualized program combining exercise, play, and other activities such as sensory integration, our pediatric physiotherapist can help your child build muscle strength and improve their gross motor skills. Our pediatric physiotherapist will also provide guidance to parents on how to encourage their child’s progress at home.

Whatever your child’s physical needs or goals may be, it’s important to seek the help of a qualified professional who can ensure your child is getting the care they need. Together, we can guide and support your kid in their gross motor skills development in Burlington! With the right encouragement, they will be well on their way to success.

By collaborating with qualified professionals such as our pediatric physiotherapist, parents can give their children the best chances for success in developing their gross motor skills. With the right support, children can grow and develop to reach their fullest potential.

Let's Talk About Fine Motor Skills

Now that we've examined gross motor skills, let's move on to exploring fine motor skills. To execute activities such as writing or grasping small objects, the use of more precise muscles in the hands, wrists and fingers is necessary - this process is referred to as fine motor skills. These skills are essential for children as they get older—they allow them to complete more complex tasks and open up a world of possibilities!

Some signs to look out for that may indicate difficulty with fine motor skills include:

• Poor handwriting or trouble writing neatly

• Avoidance of activities such as colouring or drawing

• Difficulty manipulating small objects (e.g. buttons, scissors)

• Trouble tying shoelaces

• Struggles with using utensils or holding a pen or pencil correctly


How Can Parents Help Encourage Fine Motor Skills?

Parents can help encourage the development of fine motor skills in many ways. First, it’s important to provide your child with plenty of opportunities to practice their fine motor skills. This could include activities such as drawing, puzzles or science experiments.

Second, help them learn how to use a variety of tools and materials. This could include pens, pencils, scissors or even just basic everyday items like spoons and forks. The more your child is exposed to different objects, the better they’ll become at manipulating them.

Finally, keep it fun! Playing games like Jenga or Connect 4 can be a great way to encourage your child to use their fine motor skills without them even realizing it. With time and practice, children can learn how to control their smaller muscles and develop the necessary fine motor skills for everyday life.

In conclusion

Gross motor skills and fine motor skills are both important parts of a child’s development. With patience and support from parents, children can learn how to control their large and small muscles and gain the skills they need for everyday activities. Pediatric physiotherapists can also provide additional guidance if needed. By providing your child with plenty of opportunities to practice and making sure they have the right tools and support, you can help your child reach their gross motor and fine motor milestones.

Learning about gross and fine motor skills is essential for parents of young children. Both types of motor skills are important for development, but it’s important to understand the difference between them. With the right tools and guidance, children can learn how to use their large and small muscles to reach their milestones.

If you are looking for a pediatric physiotherapist, Pillars of Wellness is an integrated care clinic providing a number of pediatric services including gross motor skills development in Burlington. We also offer adult health services.