The development of motor skills in babies/young children


A child’s earlier experience andenvironmentinfluence their future development, healthand wellbeing. It is recognized that children’s development occurs in stages and that they need the right supports to critical period in their life to achieve their potentials. If a child does not acquire skill the way he/she should, then there are certain factors that are responsible for that, they include: low birth weight, prematurely, birth injury, disability, chronic illness, delayed development, lack of parenting knowledge. But if a child is guided against the stated above in terms of independence, good problem solving skills, and positive self-concept, these in turn are influenced by motor skill acquisition.

Skill acquisition relates to developmental skill and these encompasses area such as gross motor, fine motor, self help, social, language and cognitive development skills. Physiotherapists have experts in the development of gross motor skills, which is concomitantly on positive self-concept.

The relationship between skill development and health/well-being is difficult to define in an academically rigorous fashion. Studies involving a variety of children with special needs have demonstrated that motor skills and positiveself conceptare critical to children’s ability to participate at school (Jongmans et all 1996).

Little data clearly define the parameters of motor coordination difficulties in children. Various grades of severity and co morbidity seem to exist. Some children have only a relatively minor form of motor dyscoordination, whereas others have associated learning disabilities, attention deficit, and other difficulties.

In 1996, fox and lent found that, in contrast to the common belief that children grow out to these difficulties, they tend to linger without intervention. Early intervention is beneficial when the brain is changing dramatically during the first year of life and new connections and abilities are acquired.

Path Physiology:

Motor coordination is the product of a complex set of cognitive and physical processes that are often taken for granted in children who are developing normally, smooth, targeted and accurate movement both gross and fine, require the harmonious functioning of sensory input, central processing of this information in the brain and coordination with the high executive cerebral functions, e. g. violation, motivation, motor planning of an activity. Also acquired is the performance of a certain motor pattern. These elements must work in a coordinated and rapid way to enable complex movement involving different parts of the body.

Muscular Tone:

Muscular tone refers to the basic and constant ongoing contraction or muscular activity in the muscles. It can be understood as a baseline or background level. Tone may be normal, too low, or too high. If a muscular tone is too high, children appear somewhat stiff and do not move in smooth and natural way.

Gross Motor skills:

Gross motor skills refer to the ability of children to carry out activities that require large muscles or group of muscles. It acts in a coordinated fashion to accomplish a movement or a series of movements. Postures are an important element to consider in the assessment of gross motor skills.

Fine Motor Skills:

Fine motor skills are the movement of small muscles that act in an organized and suitable fashion, for instance, hand, feet etc, and the muscle in the head, to accomplish more difficult and delicate tasks. Fine motor are the basis of coordination, which begin with transferring from hand to crossing the midline when aged 6 months.

Sensory Integration:

This refers to functioning of the brain, i. e., how to manage inputs and produces output. Output includes motor responses. Each child has a unique profile of response to sensory stimuli. Children with motor difficulties often have problems in the integration of sensory input.


Research has shown that children who find performing certain motor task difficult, frustrating or even impossible often become discouraged and subsequently avoid these task altogether. Eventual avoidance of challenging physical task in a child who work hard on drawing or writing with poor result is understandable.

Statement of Problems:

Children are different from each other both when they are young and after they mature, they are different because they were reared differently. Some were pked, some were not. Some received authoritarian parenting, some permissive, some authoritative, some were toilet trained early and harshly, some were left to cry in the crib and some were cuddle, and so it went. Here, emphasis will be on child and proper toileting, his/her attitude and general knowledge. And on this note will bring about the hypothesis as stated below:

H0: There is a relationship between a child earlier trained on toileting and his         general attitude.

HI: There is no relationship between a child earlier trained on toileting and the general attitude .


The researcher used primary data since it was directly from the field in their original state. Primary schools and day cares centers were visited and theinterviewwas unstructured to enable the interviewer penetrate deep and follow unanticipated clues.

Since it was only interview method that was used, two primary schools and four day care centers were visited since the emphasis is on motor skill which is all about educating a child early. The total of nine teachers in primary schools and twelve nannies in day care centers were interviewed, giving a total of twenty one teachers. As illustrated in the table below:

The above table shows that out of 21 correspondents, 15 of them agreed that proper toileting is better fromchildhood, as the child will be conditioned to it, which represented 71. 4 percent, while 6 correspondents said that whether the child is trained or not, he/she will act according to the gene or what the peer group thought them. This represented 28. 6 percents.


  • children sensitive responses towards toileting is not automatic but had training processes
  • That parents has a lot of roles to play as in introducing the child to proper toileting from 3months old of age
  • That if a child is properly trained on toileting, will be conditioned to it
  • That if a child is not trained earlier enough, would be lettering the environment at any point in time.
  • And that neatness is next to godliness

This is majority opinions and should be adhere to, since it is stated here, that neatness is next to godliness and incessant toileting leads to protracted illness, as well as embarrassments to the parents.


The manifestation described above is based on the assumption that children have opportunity to practice motor activities if they are being taught. Children require a minimum of exposure and practice to develop dexterity with scissors and drawing. A child who is notably neglected or not exposed to usual physical tasks may have physical deficits for these reasons.

Crucial aspect in motor development are exposure to tasks, caretaker who recognize the child’s developmental needs, the opportunity for the child to be taught skills, appropriate stimulation of the child, and an opportunity for the child to develop and practice new movements. These aspects have been termed the dynamic theory of motor development, which postulates that children develop new motor skills as they are needed, depending on the interactions with the environment and on the challenges parented.

Practice, experience, and environment are important determinants of development, in addition to the child’s intrinsic genetic capacities. Development is shaped by a process of selection in which children develop movement repertoires that are optimal for functioning in their specific environmental conditions.

When the condition is serious and noticeable to everyone, the child is most likely to be stigmatized at school and often at home. Children with motor coordination difficulties often feel ashamed of their poor ability to perform any motor tasks, especially those required to participate in sports and to achieve skills in schools.

The clinical picture of motor coordination problems is assessed from a developmental point of view, i. e., by considering normal physical capacities at different ages. Evaluation of a child’s development includes a consideration of individual variation, by factoring in the range of time at which motor skills, for example are normally acquired.

Young infants maintain flexor tone in the first few months of life and only gradually develop extension patterns. Also infants with motor challenges are often delayed in achieving milestone such as the ability to roll over, to sit with help, and to sit without help. Infants with motor problems may not be able to sustain their weight after 6 months when supported under their arms. So inability for a child to develop in motor skills manifest from infancy, third years of life, preschool and school aged children, genetic and environmental factors among others.

In a nutshell, evaluation of a child’s development includes a consideration of individual variation by factoring in the range of time at which motor skills, for example, are normally acquired. Evaluating the overall development of a child is preferable, considering the characteristics style and strength and weaknesses of each child.


Jongmans M, Demeter JD, Dubowitz L and Henderson SE (1996): How Local is the Impact of specific learning difficulties in premature children’s evaluation of their competence. Journal of ClinicalPsychologyand Psychiatry 37: 563-568.
http://emedicine. medscape. com/article/915251-overview