What are Sensory and Motor Skills? How Can I Help My Child Develop Them?
As parents, we all want the best for our children, especially for their development. One crucial aspect of child development is the development of sensory and motor skills.
Sensory skills refer to our child’s ability to perceive and interpret information from the environment through their senses. Motor skills refer to how well they can control and coordinate the movements of their body. It goes without saying that these skills will help your child navigate the world for the rest of their lives.
So, how do we help our children to develop these skills? So they can grow and thrive in the world. Well, here are five different ways to support your child.
Encourage Learning Through Play– Playing is one of the most effective ways to develop sensory skills in children. When your child plays with different textures, shapes and colors or materials such as playdough, sand and water – they develop new understandings of their senses. As a parent, you can set up these experiences and encourage your child to describe what they’re feeling and experiencing to help them capture what they’re learning.
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Physical Activity- Physical activity is essential for the development of motor skills. Encourage your child to run, jump and climb. Provide opportunities that require more hand-eye coordination, such as throwing and catching a ball. You can teach them how to ride a bicycle or scooter. All of these experiences help to build balance, coordination and personal control.
Use Fine Motor Skill Activities– Fine motor skills refer to the ability to control small movements of the hands and fingers. You can spend time painting with your child, drawing or even teaching them how to cut with scissors. When eating food, you can show your child how to use spoons and forks. Playing with building blocks and puzzles also helps to develop fine motor skills. Research has shown that children with better fine motor skills tend to be better at reasoning and solving problems.
Encourage Pretend Play- Pretend play is an excellent way to develop both sensory and motor skills. Encourage your child to imagine scenarios such as playing dress-up or pretending to be a chef. This type of play requires the use of communication skills, motor skills and different scenarios they might have seen or experienced.
Provide Opportunities To Regulate- Now, when your child starts to learn all of these new movement and auditory skills, they may want to use these skills all the time. This can mean they’re loud when it’s better to speak quietly, or they’re excited and moving when it’s time to sit down or sleep.
By providing opportunities for your child to regulate their sensory input, you can teach them how to manage their own behavior.
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For example, if you provide a quiet place with toys for your child to go to when they want to relax, you’re also teaching them how to manage themselves. Sensory and motor skills are skills that our children build the foundation of in adolescence, but which they use for the rest of their lives.
At Grace Christian Preschool, we help children to refine each of these skills throughout their day. And this is often made easier when they have peers to communicate and interact with. At Childcare West Auckland, we are providing the right opportunities and guidance to further support them.