Physical development provides children with the abilities they need to explore and interact with the world around them. A young child's physical growth first begins as muscles gain strength and children gradually develop coordination. The development of muscular control is the first step in this process.
Think about the words physical development. They encompass so many different tasks and abilities. The term motor development refers to physical growth or growth in the ability of children to use their bodies and physical skills. Motor development often has been defined as the process by which a child acquires movement patterns and skills.
Genetics, size at birth, body build, nutrition and culture can all influence motor and physical development.
There are two types of muscles involved in motor development such as gross motor skills versus fine motor skills.
This is the area of physical development that most parents think of first - the child's general ability to move around and use the various parts of his body. Activities like rolling over, crawling, walking, running and jumping are gross motor skills. These skills usually involve using the entire body or several parts of the body at one time.
Some of the areas that are considered when evaluating the area of gross motor development are:
- Muscle tone: How tightly or loosely do the muscles work for your child? If a child's body has high tone, then his movements might be jerky or disconnected. If a child's body is too loose - or low tone - then her movements might be slow and lack strength.
- Muscle strength: How strong is your child? How much pressure can he apply with his hands and legs? How much pressure can his body withstand?
- Quality of movements: Are the movements smooth or does she seem to jerk her limbs? Does she seem to move either particularly slow or fast? Does it take effort for her to move around?
- Range of movement: An important area in physical development is a child's ability to make movements that span the entire length of her body. A significant milestone is the ability to make movements that go from one side of the body to the other, referred to as "crossing the midline". This skill is necessary for a child to do tasks such throwing a ball or passing an object from one hand to another. This concept is also important for the area of fine motor development.
Children physical developments according to their age;
Physical development by six months
· He will show basic distinctions in vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, temperature and perceiving pain. He will also lift his head when on his stomach and possibly show squeals of delight as well as grasp objects and roll over.
Physical development by 12 months
· He can control his torso and hands, sit without support, crawl and has growing control of legs and feet. He may stand or creep across the floor.
Physical development by 18 months
· Can creep or crawl up stairs, possibly walk, draw lines on paper with crayon and will show growing physical independence.
Physical development by age two
· He can go up and down steps, run, sit self on chair, use a spoon and fork, turn single pages in a book, kick a ball, attempt to dress himself, build a tower of six blocks, kick a ball and has bowel and bladder control (though he may not care to show it and be toilet trained!).
Physical development by age three
· He can run well, march, stand on one foot briefly, ride a tricycle, feed himself (with a bit of mess), put on his own shoes and socks (though not tie laces!), unbutton and button.
Physical development by age four
· He can skip on one foot, cut with scissors, wash and dry his own face, dress himself, throw a ball overhand and other skills to show growing independence.
Physical development by age five
· He can hop and skip, dress without help, has good balance and smoother muscle action, skate or ride a scooter, print and write simple letters, establish whether he is left or right handed. Girls' fine motor skill development is likely to be about one year ahead of boys.
Physical development by age seven
· He can stand on one foot with eyes closed for three seconds, walk on a line in heel-toe fashion, skip on both feet, possibly ride a bicycle without training wheels, jump rope, catch and bounce a tennis ball and tie shoelaces.
Physical development by age nine
· He has the capability to roll, bat, kick and throw a ball, which makes him able to play organised sports such as soccer, cricket and basketball. His strength and coordination will continue to develop with practice.
Physical development by age 12
· Puberty can start to appear at this age, which is why you’ll see kids developing at different rates between the ages of eight and 18. With growth spurts come clumsiness and a lack of coordination. If your child is not athletic, help him find a sport or physical activity he enjoys. At this age, kids who don’t excel athletically are tempted to avoid all physical activity.
Parents also need to allow their children on energetic activities which is suitable for most children who can walk on their own include:
- · active play (such as hide and seek and stuck in the mud)
- · fast walking
- · riding a bike
- · dancing
- · swimming
- · climbing
- · skipping rope
- · gymnastics
Energetic activity for children will make kids “huff and puff” and can include organized activities, like dance and gymnastics. Any sort of active play will usually include bursts of energetic activity.
In order children grow and physically developed parents need to help their child to set appropriate goals teaches them how to focus on the aspects of the game that are in their control. Ask your child what they would like to accomplish and what skills would they like to improve. If your child chooses the goal they want to accomplish it will help them to take pride and ownership over their goal. Also help your child chart their progress so they can see how their hard work is helping them to improve their skills.
Kids need to know that they are valued and accepted no matter how they perform. If your child feels secure that their worth is not solely based on how they perform, they will have more energy to respond to challenges and take the risks they need in order to learn their sport. When kids are only focused on the outcome of the game, they often get nervous and don’t play as well as they would if they were focused on their own performance. If you help your child relieve this pressure, then they are more likely to be relaxed, have fun, and perform better. Instead of asking your child “Did you win?” try these questions instead:
- · What did you do well?
- · How did you work on your goals today?
- · What was your favorite part of the game?
- · What was the hardest part of the game?
- · What did you learn?
- · Did you have fun!?
Parents should let the children make mistakes. Unfortunately, mistakes get a bad rap because of the negative connotation we have placed on them. Sometimes kids are so afraid to make a mistake that they become paralyzed with fear, which is extremely detrimental to learning and improving performance. The fear of making mistakes keeps us from trying new things, pushing ourselves harder, and having fun. Let your child know that making mistakes is part of learning young child to play a variety sports, they will develop a wider range of motor skills, be less likely to develop an overuse injury, and less likely to burn out on their sport at an early age. Tiger Woods participated in baseball, basketball, cross-country, and track in addition to golf! Later, if your child does choose to specialize, they will be more motivated and committed to their sport because they have chosen a sport they are passionate about.
Parents need to your young child to play a variety sports, they will develop a wider range of motor skills, be less likely to develop an overuse injury, and less likely to burn out on their sport at an early age. Tiger Woods participated in baseball, basketball, cross-country, and track in addition to golf! Later, if your child does choose to specialize, they will be more motivated and committed to their sport because they have chosen a sport they are passionate about.
Parents need to develop their own set of guidelines for appropriate behavior during a game. Make sure your verbal and nonverbal communication is positive, especially during games. Game time is not a good time for giving feedback to coaches or referees. It is also never appropriate to yell at coaching staff or officials. This embarrasses your child and is the quickest way to make them want to drop out of their sport. It is also important not to coach your child during a game. When you do this, you are forcing your child into the horrible position of either disobeying their parents or their coach. Remember to praise effort and attitude as well as performance.
Spending time with your child pursuing other interests lets them know that you love and value them outside of their sport and can help prevent EVERYONE from burning out on sports!