What’s the difference between fine motor and gross motor skills?

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A motor skill is simply an action that involves your baby using his muscles. The actions are carried out when the brain, nervous system, and muscles work together. Motor skills are classified as:

  • Gross motor skills : 

    These are larger movements your baby makes with his arms, legs, feet, or his entire body. So crawling, walking, running and jumping are gross motor skills.

  • Fine motor skills : 

    These are smaller actions. When your baby picks things up between his finger and thumb or wriggles his toes in the sand, he’s using his fine motor skills. But it’s not just about fingers and toes. When your baby uses his lips and tongue to taste and feel objects, he’s using fine motor skills too.

When your baby is born, his brain is not mature enough to control skilled movement. Development starts at his head then moves down the body. So your newborn baby can control his mouth, face, lips and tongue and the rest follows in time.

Your baby learns to control his neck before his shoulders and his shoulders before his back. Your baby can control his arms before his hands and his hands before his fingers.
In any area of your baby’s body, his gross motor skills develop before his fine motor skills. So he’ll be able to bring his arms together before he learns how to pass a toy from hand to hand.

For your baby to really do things for himself, he’ll need to use gross and fine skills together. He’ll gradually get better at this as he grows into toddlerhood.

For example, by the time your child reaches two years old, he’ll be able to use a shape sorting toy. He’ll use gross motor skills to hold his body steady enough to grasp the shapes firmly. He will use fine motor skills to twist or turn each shape to fit the right slot.

Here’s how you can encourage the development of your baby’s motor skills:

  • Play games which challenge him a little. When he can sit well unsupported, put his favourite toy just out of reach. This will mean he must balance as he makes a grab for his toy. Watch for any changes in how he uses his legs, arms and fingers.
  • When your baby gets the hang of a game find another toy, or activity that practises new skills. You could try letting him pick up peas (mattar) or small blocks. Or, let him poke his finger in play dough or pass a toy from hand to hand. Take care to always watch your baby closely when he plays with small objects to prevent choking.
  • Try not to make things too difficult for your baby. Let him set the pace and follow his cues. Any change you make should encourage him to have a go at doing something just a little more difficult, not give up trying.

Your baby will find that developing his skills is more fun when he has a frequent change of position and activity. Small challenges, made often, are best for your baby’s development.


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Source : https://www.babycenter.in/x6562/whats-the-difference-between-fine-motor-and-gross-motor-skills

(This article/text/quote/image is shared in good spirit to strengthen the education system.)

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