As a parent, you know that your kiddo loves nothing more than to play, play, and play some more. You watch them move their arms, legs, and jump up and down. All are ways to practice gross motor skills. From balance, stability, and coordination, gross motor skills wear the crown when it comes to moving in BIG ways.
Gross Isn’t Always Icky
Whatever your image of gross is, it probably has nothing to do with gross motor skills. If you really need a visual, think of rolling in the mud or kicking up dirt. When your kiddo is working on their gross motor skills, this means that they’re utilizing big muscles to execute movements. Gross motor skills relate to a body’s ability to coordinate, stabilize, and move larger muscles. Picture them moving their arms, legs, or twisting their trunk.
One of our favorite aspects about gross motor skill practice is the importance of core stabilization. A strong core can make everyday movements with gross motor skills more fluid as a whole. Adults and children alike make use of these skills every day. Something as simple as standing up straight counts. The core needs to be strong to maintain a straight posture. Beyond core stabilization, gross motor skills simply rock because they are essential for our major movements throughout the day. Who knew that these skills could have such an incredible influence on our lives?
Getting in the Way of Gross Motor Skills
Just like the lemurs from the movie Madagascar, many toddlers are completely on board for “I like to move it, move it!” However, obstacles can stand in the way of fully embracing all that gross motor skills have to offer to a child’s wellbeing. From toddlers to teens, some kids may find it more difficult to practice with their gross motor skills. Conditions such as torticollis, cerebral palsy, or even flat feet can get in the way of healthy execution of gross motor skills. Physical therapy is often associated with improving these skills. It can be a big help when it comes down to making muscles stronger and movement easier.
Another obstacle in developing gross motor skills lies in the introduction of technology. We know that most toddlers are rather inclined to be on the move. The world is new and exciting after all. When technology becomes interesting, some kids will become increasingly sedentary. Making use of gross motor skills tends to take a dive, which can have a negative impact on physical activity and health long term. Setting limits on screen time is just one of the many ways to guide your kiddo in finding other active activities they can enjoy for a lifetime.
Moving and Cruising Throughout Life
Maybe you already have a child that has asked for the eighth time if they can go outside. For those parents who have to try a little harder, find a way to create opportunities for them to go outside and play. For example, set aside time during the day to move those muscles. It can even be simple. Go for a walk or play ball with them after school and make it a habit. Infants can also benefit will tummy time intervals throughout the day. Doing so will strengthen their muscles and give their curiosity about the world a boost. A curious mind is more likely to explore, and of course, feel excited to move their growing body.
If your child struggles when practicing with their gross motor skills, it’s time to reach out for help.