One of the most important aspects of gross motor skills is how they develop and what factors can help them improve. The gross motor system includes all of the muscles that control movement and coordination. It also includes breathing, swallowing, speaking, and hearing.
Gross motor skills are considered an essential part of a child’s neural brain development; therefore, parents must know what motor skills their children have and how to improve them. Pediatric chiropractic care can provide profound health benefits to improve gross motor skill development in children because chiropractors work on aligning the spine, which has been shown to help with gross-motor function.
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What are gross motor skills?
Gross motor skills are the abilities that allow a person to control their large muscle groups. These skills involve movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and torso. These skills develop during the first five years of life as children learn to walk, run, jump, and balance.
How do gross motor skills develop?
The gross motor system develops from the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and spinal cord. The gross motor skills develop through a series of reflexes that take place in response to stimuli. It’s important for parents to note their child’s development, so they know if they’re on track. If you believe your child may have nervous system issues, it’s important to address these concerns with health care professionals like their pediatrician or pediatric chiropractor.
It’s also important for parents to understand gross motor development and provide necessary support along the way.
Here are some ways that you can help your child with gross-motor development:
- Providing positive reinforcement when a child demonstrates gross motor skill improvement, such as using their new walking or running ability, helps build confidence and encourage gross motor skill development.
- Going to playgroups or allowing a child to participate in sports helps build gross motor skills as children learn how their body moves and develop ways to control it better.
- Try not to compare your child’s gross-motor abilities with others of the same age because every child develops gross motor skills at their own pace. Your child’s development will happen on their own timeline. It’s important to remember that some things can be more difficult for some at any age.
What’s the difference between gross and fine motor skills?
Gross motor skills are the abilities that allow a person to control their large muscles. These skills involve movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and torso. These skills develop over time during the first five years of life as children learn how to crawl, then walk, run, jump, and balance.
Fine motor skills are the abilities that allow a person to control their small muscles. These skills involve movements of the hands, fingers and, toes and are used to perform fine motor tasks such as gripping a cup or holding a pencil. Fine gross motor skills also develop during the first five years of life as children learn how to write, tie shoes and draw pictures, but these skills tend to come after gross motor skills begin to develop.
How to Improve Gross Motor Skills
If you feel like your child is behind in the proper development of their motor skills, or you want to help your child improve their gross motor skills, here are a few physical activities you can implement:
Activities for Young Children
Trampolines are great for balance and sensory play. They allow your child to run, skip, jump and bounce using all muscles in the body. This is also a great way to get your kids social and play with other kids.
Hopscotch is a classic game that is great for improving motor skills. It allows kids to hop and jump and requires strong muscles and coordination. Hopscotch is easy to set up; all you need is a sidewalk and chalk. Don’t have a driveway or sidewalk? Grab some painter’s tape and create hopscotch in the hallway.
Playground play is excellent for strengthening core muscles and balance. Encourage your child to swing on the swingset, try the monkey bars, or walk across wobble bridges. There are many great benefits from playing on the playground that can strengthen and improve their gross motor skills.
Bubble and Ballon Play
Playing with something as simple as a balloon or bubbles is a great and unique way to improve gross motor skills. Children can chase bubbles around and pop as many as they can, which requires coordination and balance. Balloons are another great way to get your child up and playing. Turn balloon play into a pretend volleyball game. See who can keep the balloon off of the ground the longest.
Have an indoor dance party and get moving! Dance is great for exercise, balance, and motor sequencing skills. Music is great for your child’s awareness of rhythm and learning new songs.
There’s nothing more physically and mentally challenging for a kiddo than an obstacle course. Obstacle courses are great for getting your child moving and giving them something to accomplish. You can create your own inside or outside using anything from pillows and blankets to hula-hoops and jump ropes.
Activities for Older Children
Get the family together and go for a hike. Walking on an incline or an unstable surface can improve your child’s strength, endurance, and coordination. It’s also great to get your child outside and explore the outdoors.
Turn on their favorite tunes and have a dance party at home. Have them participate in a dance class at school. Dancing is a great way to get children to socialize and improve their balance, coordination, and motor sequencing skills.
Swimming is a great way to get your kid’s whole body in motion. Swimming makes your body work against the resistance of the water. It builds their proprioceptive awareness (where your body is in space) and improves gross motor skills.
Ride a Bike
Riding a bike is an excellent activity for improving balance. It may be a difficult skill to master at first, but your child can quickly master riding a bike with practice. You may start them out with training wheels, and as they get more confident, you can remove them. Riding a bike is a great way to get interactive with their friends and an independent way to get around.
Climbing is another full-body activity. You could combine this with hiking, or you can visit a recreation center and see about letting your child try a rock wall. There are many safety protocols in place when you visit a recreational facility, so it’s a safe and great way to get your child moving.
How can pediatric chiropractic care help with gross motor skills?
Pediatric chiropractic care is a great way to help improve gross motor skills in children. Chiropractors work with the nervous system and can help improve communication between the brain and body. This improved communication allows for better movement patterns, coordination, and balance. In some cases, pediatric chiropractic care may be recommended if your child struggles with gross motor skills. If you are concerned about your child’s gross motor skills, please consult your pediatric chiropractor.
Chiropractic care for children can improve your child’s life in so many positive ways. A chiropractor can help with increased brain development, improve your child’s immune system, improve behavior, relieve emotional stress early in life, and promote a healthy lifestyle. Increased brain development promotes better emotional wellbeing and concentration.
If you’re considering chiropractic care for your child, ask our team at ADIO Chiropractic how we can help. ADIO Chiropractic has seen improvement in gross motor skills for kids who are getting regular adjustments. The body can function at its highest level when the spine is aligned.