The first few years of birth are crucial for the development of a baby’s cognitive and physical health. Poor motor skills are also a part of their impaired growth and development.
Sometimes, babies experience challenges in their motor skills even without labor complications, birth injuries, or underlying genetic health issues. The period to achieve growth milestones varies among individuals, so healthy infants also experience challenges.
But regardless, poor motor skills result in delayed sitting, standing, walking, and running and a lack of musculoskeletal coordination. So, observe your baby keenly. Do not ignore even the slightest changes in their movement, behavior, growth, diet, sleeping pattern, and response.
Better observation is essential to their growth and well-being. Keen observation can help detect early signs and symptoms and intervene in their health issues on time. And an early diagnosis of developmental challenges can help your baby fight the odds and help you take appropriate initiative.
The following sections discuss the importance of motor skills and how you can assist your baby’s smooth journey to adolescence and maturity.
1. Use toys and assisting equipment
Since babies try everything for the first time, they do not know how to start. Toys have an inevitable significance in a baby’s growth, development, and learning. Surround your baby with toys, gadgets, and equipment to assist their endeavors. Buy them colorful and musical toys and urge them to grasp, hold, and play. Use clay and playdough and encourage them to perform actions like patting, stamping, rolling, smooshing, and pounding. But if your child has a condition such as erbs palsy, it’s best to refer to experts on how to build their motor skills.
Drawing and coloring are also useful to help them hold, balance, focus, and coordinate their movements. In addition, assisting tools and equipment like baby walkers and chairs can also help them try standing, sitting, and walking without fear of falling. Once they have gained enough confidence and better musculoskeletal coordination, they can continue without support.
2. Excite them for initiation
Parenting a newborn is not free from challenges and ordeals. You have to unlearn and relearn to help your baby learn new things. Since they cannot do it alone, be a part of their journey. Forget that you are an adult. Indulge in their world as if you are their contemporary.
Your engagement can urge and excite them. So, explore fun activities and games and invest time in their learning. Invite other toddlers and children to create a fun and conducive environment for your baby. A healthy interaction with their contemporaries is also a great way to help them learn things better, faster, and eagerly.
3. Create a safe and spacious environment
Babies can give up on their hits and trials for sitting, standing, walking, or running if their efforts cause pain, bruises, and injuries. Though falls and slips are a part of their learning, they will hesitate and fear trying if they hurt themselves from repeated failures. So, ensure their endeavors are less painful and more playful.
Adjust the setting of your home and create more space for their movement. Ensure they do not stumble into hard, sharp, and harmful objects. Keep chairs, tables, utensils, and electronics away from their reach and play area.
4. Motivate and encourage
Motivation and encouragement can help yield fruitful results for anyone at any stage. And children need emotional support the most while growing up. Like adults, children are also more eager to try, learn, and achieve growth milestones when their loved ones are more excited about their achievements. Hence, motivate them to keep trying even if they fail.
Showcase a positive attitude even when they stumble and never lose hope. They cannot carry on if you do not give them a helping hand and exhaust.
5. Use music
Music is not only soothing to the ears of adults alone. Infants also have an inherent sense of rhythm and melody. Music has proven benefits to augment infants’ sensory, gross, and motor skills. Melodious tones can improve their inclination to move, get up, and try, leading to better balance, coordination, and muscle strength, improving their motor and gross skills.
Music excites children to the point when they start jumping, clapping, screaming, and dancing. That’s why they kick and giggle excitedly even when they have yet to talk and walk. So, utilize music to encourage them for the initiative. If your child is old enough to play with toys, buy them tuneful toys and musical instruments. Supervise and motivate them to try playing and tuning into the rhythm of their toys.
6. Engage them in doable chores
Babies are keen to learn and adapt to the new world. But the pace of their learning depends upon your efforts. The more you facilitate their growth, the better and faster they learn. Thus, teach, urge, and engage your child as early as possible rather than delaying till the right time. Start with safe, small, and doable steps like helping them hold an object and drink or eat with their hands.
Advance their level of challenge when they are old enough to sit and stand. Engage them in household chores, such as washing dishes, doing the laundry, folding clothes, or mopping a table. Think about other safe activities to do with your kid and engage them under your supervision. But do not force them to try something when they are not in a playful mood. Make their engagement exciting, peaceful, and safe to help them learn faster. Elevate their interest to brace up, try, and learn than lecture or dictate them.
7. Look after their nutritional needs
Nutrients have a significant role in a child’s mental and physical health and growth. The side effects of malnutrition result in lower birth weight, poor muscle strength, and behavioral and cognitive deficits, affecting speech, motor skills, intelligence, and other growth milestones. The deficiency of even a single nutrient can cause damage to their health. For instance, anemia or iron deficiency is one of the causes behind retired intelligence and delayed cognitive development.
Iron is a chief source to supply oxygenated blood to the brain and other important organs to function adequately. Iron deficiency affects their appetite, focus, and playfulness. Zinc deficiency is another cause of poor memory, lack of attention, and delayed motor skills development. Protein, carbohydrates, fatty acids, and minerals are equally vital for health, well-being, and smooth growth. In short, malnourished children are less eager to move, roll, sit, stand, or walk. Since the early few years are crucial for their cognitive development, malnutrition can cause severe damage. So, pay attention to your child’s diet. Try recommended food varieties to ensure their bodies intake sufficient amounts of essential nutrients.
Parenting can be challenging for many when their child has a delayed growth pace. Many fear that their child has underlying health issues that hamper their growth. But every child has a different developmental pace. So, do not freak out and practice patience. Assist their journey and stay in touch with a healthcare expert to know if your child is on the right track.