One of the things you will hear about often is motor skills, and sometimes you will hear gross motor skills, or fine motor skills.
So what are they? And why do they matter?
Motor skills are milestones, and abilities that we each have, what we can do, do on our own, and do well, or need help doing.
Gross motor skills are the movements that we make, when we use our bigger muscles. That means things like can a baby sit up on its own, and can a toddler run and jump. This also includes the hand and eye coordination of movement, things like catching a ball that is tossed to them.
Fine motor skills are the movements when we are using the smaller muscles, in our hands, fingers, and wrist. These are the skills and movements that we develop as we learn to scribble and then write, to cut shapes out of paper, and to write out our ABCs and our 123s.
Fine motor skills are also about eye to hand movements, as well as how our nervous system is developing (or degrading if we look at the aged for example, on the other end of the spectrum).
In both cases, you will notice that muscles are involved. In the same way that you build up a muscle endurance, to be able to jump 10 times in a row; you build up muscle strength to write.
Learning to hold your hand the correct way to use scissors, or to write with a pencil is about both learning a skill, and building a muscle. Have you ever had to cut out a lot of detailed items, and noticed that your hand is getting tired, or even cramping? That's those muscles saying "hey wait a minute" just like your arms might if you are carrying heavy books.
A child has to both learn the new skills, and build the muscles, as well as the neuroconnections to have success. That's why it's important to encourage your child to color, write, scribble, and practice, practice, practice - through their play. It helps them to build the success base they need.
In the same way you encourage your child to climb, jump and slide, make sure to encourage seat work too!
Until next time, take care of you!
Director of Over The Bay Pre-K