Child development and growth @ Reward Me

Developing the building blocks of our child’s body

Equip your child for success in the classroom and on the playing field by developing their big muscle skills – the building blocks of their bodies.


Remember when your child first rolled over or took their first steps? You were witnessing their large/gross motor development and progression from one skill to another. This is the natural result of your child’s large or gross motor development.

Large motor skills are the foundation on which other skills build. As a parent, the key to enhancing your child’s large motor potential lies in understanding what large motor skills are, why they are important and how to develop them in your child through play.

Various body parts work together to make whole body movements. As a parent you need to consider which of these your child uses and which may need a little “game time” in the future.

 

Types Example
Ÿ • Hand-hand co-ordination Clashing cymbals
Ÿ • Eye-hand co-ordination Playing swing ball
Ÿ ŸŸ• Eye-foot co-ordination Jumping in or out of a hula hoop
Ÿ •Ÿ Foot-foot co-ordination Pedalling a tricycle
Ÿ •Ÿ Eye-hand-foot coordination Walking while balancing a beanbag on their head.

Large motor skills help your child to:

  • Develop a healthy mind
  • Develop a healthy body
  • Learn about their bodies
  • Learn about space
  • Develop a positive self-esteem and mental picture of themselves (self-image)
  • Learn to persevere
  • Release stress and reduce tantrums
  • Lay the foundations for fine motor skills of the eyes, hands, mouth and feet
  • Learn independence

Active play improves the blood supply to the brain, fuelling brain growth and more efficient processing of information

The forerunners of co-ordinated movement

Brain and body functions need to work as a team.

The senses

Besides the usual five senses there are two internal senses that are crucial to movement.

  • Balance: Vital to large motor skills because it supports the functioning of reflex movement, muscle tone, posture, eye movement and awareness of the body in space.
  • Joint sense: Sense receptors in the joints, muscles and ligaments let your child know where their limbs are when they aren’t looking at them and give them a sense of movement.

Muscle tone, muscle strength and body awareness

These help your child move against gravity and maintain balance. They are developed by the brain using information from the senses. Balance skills are further aided by the development of eye movements.

Bilateral integration

In this case your child develops the coordinated use of the two sides of their bodies. The brain is divided into left and right hemispheres and each side controls movement on the opposite side of the body.

Child's general being @ Reward Me Kids activities for general being @ Reward Me

Set your child in motion

Create opportunities for active play

Encourage your child to push, pull, run, jump, balance, throw and play ball games.

Stimulate their senses

Try to use two to three senses with every movement.

Stimulate muscle tone by encouraging your child to:

  • Push and pull a trolley around
  • Jump on a trampoline
  • Ride a tricycle
  • Do wheelbarrow walks (hold their feet while the walk on their hands)
  • Stimulate the use of the two sides of the body
  • Suspend a soft soccer ball (put it in a vegetable sack). Hold a cardboard “bat” using both hands and have them hit the ball
  • Stand with feet apart and roll a ball from between feet with both hands to hit a target like skittles
  • Throw beanbags with their left hand into a large box placed on the right. Then swap sides
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Encourage water play

This stimulates the senses and builds muscle strength. Let them choose how they want to play, whether paddling quietly or splashing loudly

Teach one new skill at a time

Learning a motor skill triggers neural processes that evolve even after practice has ended. Research shows that your child needs four hours between new skills for consolidation to occur.

Comment on your child’s actions

Use short, simple repetitive and descriptive language. Use action words like “bend”, “twist” and “stretch” and words about her position in space.

Change positions

Explore different positions for play like kneeling or side sitting. These make different demands on their bodies.

Mirror moments

Use mirrors to help your child to get to know their body and movements, and as a motivator for trying new movements.

Encourage drawing on a vertical surface

Drawing on an upright chalkboard or some card on a wall helps your child exercise their arms and strengthen their shoulders.

Encourage your toddler to propel and pedal

Ride-ons build leg muscles and co-ordination of the two sides of the body. They give your child a sense of power. Start them off on a plastic bike that they can sit on and push with both feet to roll it along.

Encourage rocking and swinging

A rocking horse develops upper body muscles and uses push-pull motions that your child will need to master a swing.

Use everyday activities

Don’t schedule in six hours of sport a week. Adapt your daily routine to allow your child to be more active and autonomous.

Keep fun central

When the fun ends, end the game. Come back to it later or try a new approach.

Your child is building their foundations, a powerhouse to last them a lifetime. Respect their unique developmental timetable. It’s not a race. It’s a masterpiece.

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