Promoting Your Baby's Motor Skill Development
You may not notice every little change, but your baby is constantly growing and developing. Here are some major motor development milestones —movements that use large muscle groups — that your baby may be working on, and some ways you can help support her.
One of the earlier motor development milestones is reaching. Your little one will probably begin working on this between 4 and 7 months of age. In this time frame, you may see her reach for things with one hand and learn how to pass things between hands.
How you can help. Blow bubbles in your baby's direction and encourage her to reach for them. Or you can place a favorite toy just slightly out of reach and watch her go for it.
Many babies become able to sit with support at around 6 months of age, and may soon move on to sitting without support. Some babies take longer — don't be alarmed if your baby takes a little more time to master this.
How you can help. Give your baby supervised floor time to play every day. Once she can sit for a few moments without toppling over, introduce simple games like clapping or rolling a ball. Keep sessions short — just a few minutes at a time — and always stay close to her. A C-shaped pillow (such as a breastfeeding pillow) can offer some light support.
This often happens between 7 and 10 months. Your child may have a unique style — a crab-style crawl, for instance.
How you can help. Those toys you put slightly out of his grasp to encourage reaching? Move them just a little bit farther away. As your baby starts to propel himself forward, make sure that the space he explores is safe and supervised. You can also try placing a thin, rolled-up receiving blanket under your baby and demonstrate rocking back and forth on your hands and knees. Rocking is the jump-starter to crawling; soon, you'll be chasing him all through the house!
At around 9 to 11 months, your baby may pull himself up to stand. At first, he'll only stay on his feet for a few seconds, holding onto something for support, before plopping down on his bottom. Gradually, he'll improve his muscle strength, balance, and coordination until he's able to stand unsupported.
How you can help. Be sure to give your baby unrestrained playtime on the floor every day. Limit time in seating devices like baby seats and bouncers.
It's in these early months that your baby develops the crucial skills and motions needed to master the complex skills of walking, running, jumping, and climbing. Encourage your baby by challenging him to do a little bit more each day. He'll be walking and running before you know it!
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