Gross motor development in early childhood

September 23, 2021

Here at Earlybird we collaborated with Island Kid Physio to discuss gross motor development in the preschool years and the the power of early intervention.

Motor skill development happens in a (relatively) sequential manner. Meaning that motor skills build on one another, and challenges in one area can lead to troubles in another down the road.

If you have questions about your child's motor development you can make an appointment with a pediatric physiotherapist. Your family doctor can often help you find one in your area and many healthcare plans have coverage for physical therapy. Although since PTs are primary health care providers, so do not need a referral from a doctor to see them.

The range of typical development is wide in the early years. But you may want to talk to a professional

  • Noticeably falling behind peers: if you are noticing that your child consistently isn't able to do the same movement skills as their peers, in a variety of settings, it may be worth discussing with a health care professional.
  • Avoiding physical activities: children with movement difficulties will often avoid physical activities or may show signs of extreme resistance when engaging in them.
  • Signs of pain during certain movements: In babies, this can look like avoiding a certain position or skill. In older children, they may complain of physical pain.
  • Asymmetry: If the child is using one side of their body significantly more than another, walking up on one tiptoe consistently, or appears to be significantly stronger on one side, this can be an indicator of an underlying issue.

Early intervention is powerful.

Getting a child the support they need early, increases neuroplasticity in the brain (aka trains their brain to learn the skills) and helps to avoid compensations that may lead to challenges in future motor skills. Kids who receive the intervention they need early on show remarkable improvement over time.

Follow Island Kids Physio on Instagram for more motor development information. And Join Earlybird for a variety of motor skill building activities to help your child move with confidence and be ready to write and carry out daily living tasks.

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