Motor Milestones

Motor milestones are defined as the major developmental tasks of a period that depend on movement by the muscles. Examples of motor milestones include the first time a baby sits alone, takes a step, holds a toy, rolls, crawls, or walks. As discussed previously, the timing of the accomplishment of each motor milestone will vary with each child. ''Motor milestones depend on genetic factors, how the mother and father progressed through their own development, maturation of the central nervous system, skeletal and bone growth, nutrition, environmental space, physical health, stimulation, freedom and mental health'' (Freiberg 1987; Paplia and Wendko-solds 1987). Within the motor milestones exist two forms of motor development: gross motor development and fine motor development. These two areas of motor development allow an infant to progress from being helpless and completely dependent to being an independently mobile child.

Gross Motor Development

Gross motor development involves skills that require the coordination of the large muscle groups of the body, such as the arms, legs, and trunk. Examples of gross motor skills include sitting, walking, rolling, standing, and much more (see the list of gross motor milestones in Table 1). The infant's gross motor activity is developed from movements that began while in the womb and from the maturation of reflex behav ior. With experience, the infant slowly learns head control, then torso or trunk control, and then is rolling, sitting, and eventually walking. The first year of a baby's life is filled with major motor milestones that are mastered quickly when compared to the motor milestone achievements of the rest of the baby's development. In addition to the development of gross motor skills, a baby is simultaneously learning fine motor skills.

Fine Motor Development

Fine motor development is concerned with the coordination of the smaller muscles of the body, including the hands and face. Examples of fine motor skills include holding a pencil to write, buttoning a shirt, and turning pages of a book (see the list of fine motor milestones in Table 1). Fine motor skills use the small muscles of both the hands and the eyes for performance. For the first few months, babies spend a majority of time using their eyes rather than their hands to explore their environment. The grasping reflex, which is present at birth, is seen when a finger is pressed into the baby's palm; the baby's fingers will automatically curl around the person's finger. This grasping reflex slowly integrates and allows the development of more mature grasping patterns. At four months, babies will begin to more frequently reach out for toys with their arms and hands. The reach looks more like a swipe because the baby is learning how to control the arm and hand. Over time, babies learn how to make smoother and coordinated movements with their arms and hands.

Joy Of Modern Parenting Collection

Joy Of Modern Parenting Collection

This is a collection of parenting guides. Within this collection you will find the following titles: Issues, rule and discipline, self esteem and tips plus more.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment