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First Step

There are some things you can do to help your baby along in the process of developing the motor skills necessary for walking on her own. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t let your baby wear shoes indoors. It is much easier for a baby to learn to walk barefoot.
  • When you are holding your baby while trying to assist her in walking don’t hold her legs or hands. You can hold her by the torso.
  • Try to encourage your baby to develop walking motor skills by calling her to come to you or by placing a favorite toy just out of reach so that she crawls towards it. This will help her engage in these actions on her own volition and will expedite the development of several necessary skills for independence.
  • Make sure the floor is not too slippery; your baby may not find it easy to balance on a slippery floor and this can be dangerous for a baby just learning to balance.

Motor skills are not exactly the same thing as hand and eye coordination but they are pretty closely related. The development of hand-eye coordination often parallels and/or compliments the development of gross and fine motor skills. There are some activities your baby can do to increase her coordination and develop her motor skills, such as:

Puzzles: Get your baby started on jigsaw puzzles. Let her start off on small puzzles of 4-5 pieces. There are baby-styled puzzles available that have little handles on them for babies to grip. As she gets adjusted to the idea, start her off on puzzles of a higher level. Don’t get very complicated puzzles for her as she may get frustrated if she can’t do it and this could make her develop feelings of frustration.

Baby-sized Lego Blocks: These types of blocks are the kind which require construction and which require pegs to be placed and fitted in certain places. These big blocks are excellent for developing motor skills.

Plastic building blocks: These types of blocks allow babies to stack and build things that require balance and use a different set of hand/eye coordination skills and motor skills.

Peg and hole toys: These are toys that are made of plastic and have holes fitted to plastic pegs for the baby to differentiate different shapes and also to develop motor skills and hand/eye coordination.

Plastic “Doughnuts”: Another popular toy for encouraging the development of motor skills is the graduated soft plastic Doughnuts that fit on a plastic center pole. Your baby can stack these and will soon learn more about shapes, sizes and colors, and how they relate to one another.

Below illustrates a rough timeline for milestones you can expect your baby to cross in the first year and half:

1-3 months
Baby’s hand is curled into a fist that instinctively holds onto objects that are put into her palm. At two months the grasp is less reflexive and more controlled. At three months, the palm is weakly open but with little strength to grip objects.

5 months
• Baby begins reaching for objects such as toys.
• Baby might briefly grasp and hold toys.
• Baby will enjoy sucking her own hands.

6 months
• Baby is beginning to follow objects with her eyes.
• Baby is sucking her feet and grasping objects between both hands.

7 months
• Baby is developing the ability to transfer objects from one hand to the other.
• Baby’s finger-thumb grip develops and she can simultaneously grip objects in both hands.

8 months
• Baby keeps hands open and relaxed most of the time.
• Baby is starting to have the ability to pick up small foods, like Cheerios.

10 months
• Baby is able to release an object voluntarily.
• Gives toy to caregiver when asked.
• Baby should be able to hold more than one object in her hand.

[learn_more caption=”Picture Source”] Flickr:Dermot O’Halloran[/learn_more]

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