7 stages of a child's development - The Physical milestones of your little one
7 stages of a child's development - The Physical milestones of your little one
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Child development is a process that begins at birth and continues throughout the child's life. It is a journey of growth and learning and it is important for parents and guardians to understand the different stages of a child's development. There are seven stages in a child's development, and each stage is characterized by different milestones and achievements. At every stage, A Toddler Thing is ready to make your baby comfortable and happy!

What is gross motor development? 

Gross motor development refers to the development of large muscle groups and the ability to control and coordinate these muscles for movement. It is a crucial aspect of a child's overall development as it lays the foundation for physical activities such as running, jumping, and playing sports. It also helps in developing a child's coordination, balance, and strength.

H3: Key Components of gross motor skills in children:

These are the various examples of gross motor skills that are seen in babies -

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Hopping
  • Climbing
  • Balancing
  • Throwing
  • Catching
  • Riding a Bike or Scooter
  • Kicking
  • Striking
  • Dancing and Moving to Music

7 stages of gross motor development in babies –

Infants are just wonderful! They go through amazing physical and emotional changes during the first year of life. Their motor development—that is, their ability to use and regulate their muscles for movement—is among the most fascinating features of their development. Let’s look at the seven phases of a baby's gross motor development and understand what to expect, and what to do to make the gross motor coordination activities more fruitful: 

  • Stage #1: birth to 3 months
  • Babies start showing few movements involving their larger muscle groups right from the time they develop them inside their mom’s womb. No wonder why they keep kicking inside and disturb mommy’s sleep day and night, while still being inside! During the first three months of a child's life, they are still learning to control their movements and develop strength in their muscles. 

    What to expect - At this stage, infants can move their arms and legs in a random and uncoordinated manner. They can also lift their head for short periods when lying on their stomach. 

    Suggested activities: Tummy time is an excellent, and essential activity at this stage as it helps in firming up the neck and back muscles. Make sure to use soft muslin blankets for babies when you are doing tummy time.

  • Stage #2: 3 months -6 months
  • This is the period of pretty smiles and eye contact. Apart from the goo-goo-gaa-gaas and giggles, they start to gain more control over their movements by the time they reach 3-6 months.

    What to expect - They can now hold their head up for a longer period and can also push up on their arms while lying on their stomach – kind of like swimming strokes. Babies at this stage also start to reach and grasp objects, which is an important milestone for their gross motor development. 

    Suggested activities: Parents can engage their little ones in activities such as reaching for toys, rolling over, and crawling to help them develop their gross motor skills. Make sure your baby is lying down on soft surfaces, and the toys being used do not have any sharp edges.

  • Stage #3: 6-9 months
  • This period marks the social interactions of the baby. Smiling at strangers, trying to imitate the sounds, and trying to crawl to their folks – this stage is probably the cutest! Between 6-9 months, they become more mobile as they start to crawl and pull themselves up to a standing position. 

    What to expect: They can also sit without support and may even take a few steps while holding onto furniture. This stage is a crucial time for a child's gross motor development as they are building the necessary strength and coordination for more complex movements.

    Suggested activities: Parents can invest on walkers and baby home gym equipment, which will support the baby’s legs and enable better movements. 

  • Stage #4: 9-12 months
  • A period of rapid physical and psychological changes, this period involves a whole set of new experiences and activities for babies. As they approach their first birthday, their gross motor skills continue to improve, and their larger muscle groups become stronger. Most of the kids, by the age of 1, start walking, or at least begin to walk a couple of steps at a time.

    What to expect: They can now stand without support and may even take a few independent steps. They also start to develop their fine motor skills, which involve the use of smaller muscle groups, such as holding a spoon or stacking blocks. 

    Suggested activities: Parents can encourage their child's gross motor development at this stage by offering toys that promote crawling, walking, and standing.

  • Stage #5: 12-18 months
  • Apart from the cute baby-talk and noises, toddlers at this stage are full of energy and are constantly on the move. Running, dancing and jumping are their favourite things now!

    What to expect: They can walk and even run independently, climb stairs with assistance, and throw a ball. They also start to develop a sense of balance, which allows them to ride a tricycle or kick a ball. 

    Suggested activities: Activities such as dancing, playing catch, and building with blocks are great for promoting gross motor development at this stage. Parents can also engage their kids in swimming.

  • Stage #6: 18 months-2.5 years
  • Between 18 months to 2 years, children become more coordinated and can engage in more complex movements. Many parents enrol their babies in playschools or prep-schools because they constantly need activities to aid physical and cognitive development.

    What to expect: They can now jump, climb, and balance on one foot. They can also hold a pencil and scribble, which indicates the development of fine motor skills. 

    Suggested activities: To further foster their gross motor exercises, parents can involve their child in activities such as hopscotch, obstacle courses, and playing with balls of different sizes. Make sure to dress them appropriately, such as a muslin jabla with full pants, or probably muslin bodysuits for babies, so that their bodies are covered fully and safe.

  • Stage #7: 2.5-4 years
  • By the age of 3-5 years, children have developed a wide range of gross motor skills and are more physically confident. Busy preschoolers, these kids have developed a lot in terms of gross motor skills, and it is also the right time to start working on fine motor skills.

    What to expect: They can now run, jump, and climb with ease, catch and throw a ball, and even pedal a tricycle. 

    Suggested activities: They also start to show an interest in activities that require more coordination and balance, such as jumping over obstacles and hopping on one foot. This could also be the right age to enrol kids in activities such as dancing and certain sports.

    Children develop at their own rate, so it's critical to recognize the sequence of development, and celebrate each milestone. While our little ones grow through these seven developmental phases, let's provide them an atmosphere that fosters safety as well as development.