Several factors can influence the development of motor skills in children

The motor skills of children begin to develop during the first year after birth. Various factors can influence this development.

4 Factors That Can Affect Motor Development Skills In Children
4 Factors That Can Affect Motor Development Skills In Children

The initial year of life marks a crucial period for motor development in children, where significant milestones such as neck control, sitting, rolling over, and walking without support are achieved. While other developments occur during infancy, motor milestones stand out prominently. To optimize a child’s potential during this critical period, the editorial team at Onlymyhealth consulted Dr. Puja Kapoor, a Pediatric Neurologist and Co-founder of Continua Kids, to gain insights into the factors influencing motor development skills in children.

Factors influencing the development of motor skills in children

1. Provide an environment that encourages stimulation

A four-month-old infant, when placed on their tummy, typically lifts their head to explore their surroundings. Engaging environments can encourage this behavior, aiding in the strengthening of neck and abdominal muscles essential for motor development. Providing visually stimulating toys and varied sounds, such as colorful toys or diverse human voices, can captivate their interest and promote sensory development. However, it’s important to avoid relying on screen time for stimulation, as it can be addictive and potentially hinder social and communication skills in the future. Instead, opting for interactive toys and diverse auditory stimuli can effectively encourage muscle engagement and support the progression of motor milestones.

Provide an environment that encourages stimulation

2. Massage 

In our tradition, it’s customary to massage a child and let them bask in sunlight before bathing, particularly during winters. This practice aids in blood circulation and provides a calming effect for the child. However, it’s essential to ensure that the massage is performed by someone experienced and gentle, as excessive pressure can be detrimental. The massage should last for about ten to fifteen minutes using non-allergenic natural oils. Oils such as mustard, coconut, or olive oil can be chosen based on the child’s skin type and the climate conditions.

3. Diet 

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in the holistic development of a child. Since most infants are exclusively breastfed for the initial six months, it’s crucial to ensure the mother’s nutritional needs are met. Many Indian mothers are deficient in key nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin D3. Supplementation of these nutrients in the mother’s diet enhances the quality of breast milk, thereby benefiting the child’s health. Additionally, introducing complementary foods after six months is essential. These should consist of soft homemade foods and seedless fruits initially, gradually incorporating a diverse range of foods for a well-balanced diet. Furthermore, vitamin D3 supplementation is recommended until the age of one, under medical supervision, to support bone and muscle development.

 4. Utilization of a walking aid

In some instances, caregivers introduce infants to walkers before they are able to sit independently. However, this practice is ill-advised as the infant’s core muscles are not yet developed enough to support their weight. Encouraging walking in a walker at this stage puts strain on immature leg muscles, potentially leading to bone deformities.