Gross motors skills are required to support body movement and they involve the larger body muscles that help one perform everyday functions. These functions may include but not limited to sitting upright, standing, walking, running, and jumping. Others also include eye-hand coordination which is important in activities like throwing and catching a ball, riding a bicycle, and swimming.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
Gross motor skills are crucial for children to be able to perform basic functions like walking and running, climbing, and doing sports. Gross motor skills are also important for children to care for themselves like getting dressed, getting in and out of a car, and getting into or out of bed.
Gross motor skills influence the way daily activities are carried out. A child’s ability to perform such tasks depend on the overall efficiency of their gross motor skills which allow them to sit upright before being able to write, draw, and cut in an appropriate posture. Gross motor skills also have an effect on a child’s endurance to sit for long hours during curriculum time or carrying a heavy schoolbag. Gross motor skills also affect how a child navigates through their environment to be able to make wise decisions even for simple scenarios like going up the stairs, going up a slope, or getting off a moving escalator.
DIFFICULTIES OF POOR GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
If a child does not have fair gross motor skills, they will struggle to complete even basic daily functions. They may face trouble eating, stowing away their toys, and getting on the toilet. Some children may also avoid participating in daily physical tasks or show disinterest when instructed to perform them. They may also rush every task or show signs of fatigue even when assigned simple physical tasks. Challenging tasks may also be undertaken in an awkward fashion which may not make sense to others. Affected children may also instruct others to complete their tasks without personally taking part.
USING BUILDING BLOCKS TO BUILD GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
- Muscular strength: Being able to exert force when resistance is present.
- Muscular endurance: Being able to continuously exerting force when resistance is present.
- Motor planning: Being able to move their body parts in appropriate sequences.
- Motor learning: Learning about a change in muscle behavior as a result of past experience.
- Postural control: Being able to stabilize one’s neck to coordinate other limbs.
- Sensory processing: Being able to accurately interpret and respond to sensory stimulation felt within one’s body.
- Body awareness: Being aware of one’s body parts and understanding their individual purpose and movement.
- Balance: Being able to balance oneself while in a standstill position or in a dynamic position like in a moving car, an escalator, or others.
- Coordination: Being able to incorporate several movements together to achieve a task.
- Crossing mid-line: Being able to cross the imaginary line that runs from a child’s nose to the pelvis region which divides up the body into its left and right sides.
- Proprioception: This is a piece of information that is sent from our muscles and joints to our brain to allow us to be aware of the position and movement of our body.
- Muscle tone: The muscle tension when a muscle is in a resting mode which continuously contracts the muscles.