Wiggling those toes, blowing a kiss, climbing up stairs,
that home run – all those are great achievements. They are achievements
of the physical development which includes:
All the bodily
changes that occur during a lifetime,
learning to use the large muscle groups needed for jumping
or running (also called gross
motor development) and
learning to use those small muscle groups that let you pick
up the lost
sultana or wrinkle your nose (fine
Physical Development Allows for New Fun Experiences
As a parent you watch your child and his abilities grow and grow.Some
parents can't wait for their
children to reach each milestone and would like to support their
attempts in every possible way.
For your child his development isn't less exciting. With every step in
his physical development a whole new world opens up.
Being able to hold and control the head makes it possible
to see so many new things,
A child who can crawl or walk is so much more independent
in getting to all those interesting things.
Physical growth makes it possible not only to reach more
also to learn different skills. For example riding a bike,
once she can reach
the pedals. It often also determines how other people respond to
This way it might become understandable, that upon reaching one
milestone, your child doesn't necessarily rush to reach the next.
There is so much more to see and learn and understand on the level just
Sometimes it might seem as if he's not progressing at all or even
regressing. But trust him, he might be figuring out something different
which you can't see just yet.
Becoming proficient in one skill also takes time but never the less it is
important. It influences your child's development and well being in so many other areas. For example:
The feeling of confidence in motor skills often
influences the sense of self esteem. This in turn can lead to better
behaviour like a more cooperative play or enjoyment in a variety of
This confidence and all the practice of gross
and fine motor skills also prepares for later tasks like reading and
writing. It is so much better to enjoy a variety of those activities
with the child than to push children into early writing exercises.
The regular and lively activity builds up lung capacity,
strength and bone density that not only allows for even more
activities, enables a better emotional balance and is also the
foundation for a good health throughout adulthood.
The Challenging Side of Physical Development
the other hand certain bodily changes can also influence the overall
well being of a child.
Who doesn’t know the grumpiness of a child who is teething? And then,
who thinks of teething right away
when a child is suddenly grumpy? I certainly didn’t until I noticed my
In the same way a growth
spurt can influence
the need for sleep or make temporarily very hungry. But it’s often just
after a growth spurt that a parent wonders “why has she suddenly lost
And here again it’s important to check for other
possible causes like sickness, but not to overreact. Even sudden
clumsiness might be the result of a growth spurt – and it will pass as
So how can you best
nurture your child's physical development without asking too much?
key is to provide positive experiences. Just have fun!! Those
experiences nurture the curiosity and confidence of your child to try
new skills and explore the world.
Focussing on positive experiences
also prevents from rushing from one skill to the next. It gives more
room to the repetition needed to truly master a skill. Usually your
child’s interest is a very good indicator of his readiness to learn a
new skill or let another one rest for a while.
parents can do is to provide
a broad spectrum of possible experiences
and let the child choose which ones he's is interested in at the
However, his preference of one over the other doesn’t mean that the
next time he wouldn’t choose differently.