A motion or movement of the body such as holding a pen, throwing a ball, climbing, running, etc., is categorized as a motor skill. It involves the movement of muscles for performing such actions. This skill is normally developed during childhood. This article provides information on the different types of this skill.
A motor skill can be defined as a sequence of various body movements that together end into a specific action. Walking on your legs and walking on your hands, both these actions fall under motor skills. However, the former is a basic ability, while the latter is a special ability (not all can develop). An action involves the movement of various body muscles. This skill is alternatively referred to as ‘ motor control’. It can be broadly classified into fine and gross.
‘Fine motor control’ can be defined as activities involving the small muscles of the body. These include writing, tying laces, holding small objects, etc. Good coordination between the small muscles is essential for performing these activities (For example, hand-to-eye coordination while writing). The eyes and hand muscles are utilized in most of them. Infancy is the ideal stage for the development of this control, as it enables the child to perform various activities in school. Due to this control, a child can write in a legible handwriting, eat food properly, turn the pages of a book, take care of himself/herself, groom, wear clothes, comb his/her hair, tie shoe laces, etc. Since most of the activities associated with this control involve hands, dexterity is an essential factor. Additionally, the strength in the small muscles is also an important factor. Painting with crayons or a brush, cutting papers, arranging blocks, playing with dough, etc., are some of the activities that can promote the fine control in a child.
‘Gross motor control’ are activities involving the large muscles of the body. Running, walking, jogging, etc., are some of the examples of the gross motor control. Thus, these are larger body movements involving arm movements, leg movements, or moving the entire body. Children learn these movements in their early life. Proper development of these abilities are necessary for good posture and balance of the body. One of the most important gross controls is walking upright. Walking involves standing straight and balancing from one foot to another. Learning to walk is a slow process, which starts with crawling, standing straight with aid, then walking with support, and finally walking independently. Once the child learns to walk, he/she can easily perform the advanced gross controls such as jumping, running, hopping, etc. Thus, these improve with the increasing mobility of a child. Also, they continue to develop till adolescence.
Most of the time, it becomes difficult for the parents to judge, whether the controls in their child are developing properly. A checklist, for checking the abilities of a child at different stages can prove to be useful. It is recommended that every parent should observe the activities of the child to determine his/her development. The table given below can be used as a checklist:
|Age (in yrs.)||Gross Motor Skills||Fine Motor Skills|
|1||Walks with aid, crawls, and sits without support||Reaches, grasps and puts the object in the mouth, and drops/picks up a toy|
|Between 1 and 2||Walks by himself/herself, sits on the chair, listens and dances to the music, and plays with the toys||Places four fingers on a stick, scribbles, and turns a knob|
|Between 2 and 3||Walks on tiptoe, jumps, and stands on a foot with aid||Turns single pages, squeezes, and holds a pen with the fingers|
|Between 3 and 4||Walks on a line, catches a bounced ball, and rides a tricycle||Manipulates clay materials and copies a circle|
|Between 4 and 5||Jumps forward without falling, turns somersault, and climbs/descends the stairs||Copies squares and cross and prints capital letters|
|Between 5 and 6||Jumps on ropes, skates, and walks on a balance beam||Copies triangles, colors within lines, and pastes properly|
Good motor skills are very essential for a good quality of life. They make an individual independent. He/she can perform their daily chores easily. If you observe that your child is not developing the abilities as per the aforementioned checklist, then you should consult a health expert and learn the different techniques to enhance the abilities.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.