One may think that gross motor skills come easy. As a child grows, they instinctively learn to run, jump and climb from the time they learn to walk. However, that is not always the case. Some children may take a little longer to develop those muscles, so as a parent, understanding and having ways to facilitate or promote these skills will be key. Summer is a perfect time to get out and do something physical with your children. Yes we do have those lazy days of summer but they don’t all have to be lazy. Here are a few tips to get you started on promoting your child’s gross motor skills without having to buy not one toy or pay for any extra-curricular activities. Although those can come in handy if your child shows an increasingly strong ability and interest in a particular area.
1. Start off small and simple. Remember the KISS acronym?? Keep It Simple Silly (we’ll use that instead of the stupid). You don’t have to have any fancy training or special equipment or even have to attend any classes. Just take your child to the park. Allow them to climb, swing, etc.; of course supervised. Utilize that backyard. Set up a family competition day. Have a jumping jack contest among other things.
2. Use what you have. Begin with using things around your home. You can create simple obstacle courses in your backyard or house. Chairs become obstacles children have to go under, broom/mop sticks they have to jump over. In addition, you would also be promoting math language. Using positional words to describe what you want your child to perform grows their vocabulary.
3. Don’t be afraid to be daring (but safe). The old school ways of spinning your children around is making a come back. These types of activities actually help further develop children’s vestibular (inner ear) system and equilibrium. So spin away (but safely please)!
4. Be informed. Knowing the general milestones and ages helps to keep an eye out for where to work on things. Talk to your pediatrician about where your child is and/or should be. I’m just saying….. the more you know.
5. Lastly, getting involved in a local recreational facility such as the Newark YMCA or Boys and Girls Club can help to foster not only your child’s physical abilities but also their social and language abilities.