What Are the Best Tips for Developing Motor Skills in Toddlers?
The best way to promote motor skills in toddlers is to give kids opportunities to explore and learn on their own. Most children learn through doing in the early years, so to promote this development it is a good idea to allow children to play both independently and with parents or other children. As kids are allowed to play and experience new things, they will naturally develop new skills in the process.
Motor skills are divided into more than one category. Gross motor skills involve the ability to walk and manipulate objects on a larger scale. This may include skills like kicking a ball or climbing on a jungle gym. Fine motor skills involve the ability to control objects on a finer, or smaller, scale. This includes tasks like drawing with a crayon or eating with a fork and spoon. Parents can encourage the development of these motor skills in toddlers by giving them plenty of opportunities to practice without being overbearing.
While it's good to sit and play with children in order to help them learn, kids may become resistant when parents or caregivers turn every game into a lesson. The best way to encourage the growth of motor skills in toddlers is to simply choose activities in which these skills will develop naturally. Most kids love to play ball or learn to climb the equipment at the park, so parents should allow children to engage in these activities. They can encourage them to climb, swing, and walk across a balance beam, but it shouldn't be forced to the point where it is no longer fun. Most children do not require constant nagging in order to learn so long as they are given opportunities to do so.
The same principles apply to promoting the development of fine motor skills in toddlers. Most children will gladly try to feed themselves with a fork when given the chance with no prodding needed. They may not hold the utensils correctly, but will eventually learn to manipulate them and position them through practice and by watching their parents or siblings. Children are often more aware than adults realize, so even if they are not exhibiting a particular skill yet, they are often busy observing others while they perform daily tasks. By the time a child is handed a fork or spoon, he or she often has a general idea of how to use it already.
Although most motor skills in toddlers are developed naturally in children who are given the opportunity to play and practice, there are some cases in which one on one attention is needed. Any child who does not seem to be developing on schedule should be evaluated and given extra attention. This also does not mean that all forms of one on one education are unneeded for most children. It's fine to encourage specific skills or to show a child how to perform them. Parents should remember that children learn when they are ready, and that kids will focus on the tasks they want to focus on and ignore others until they are ready.
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