1. Challenge with a movement  they can do on their own.
  2. Teach in small increments at a time.
  3. Good mood is important–baby must not be hungry, tired, or fussy.
  4. Praise with enthusiasm and descriptive words.

When practicing the tips on Stellar Caterpillar blog, please remember these important tips.  First, try to challenge baby with whatever is just within reach of her ability.  For example, holding a 3 month old baby on her knees is not something she can do on her own.  Instead, try placing a rattle with a narrow diameter handle into the palm of her hand, closing her fingers around it, and gently squeezing  them. This is probably something she can do on her own after you show her a few more times and is the motor skill of grasping.

Recognize that learning occurs in very small steps, or should we say “baby steps.”  Detecting these small differences is not easy for a parent unless they have spent many hours analyzing babies’ process of learning to move.   Through motor skill education, a parent can learn to see the mirco-skills making up a motor milestone. This is one of the goals of–to teach parents to see the tiny learning stages of physical development.  For example, mom discovers how to roll baby on her side for awhile before moving her onto her tummy.   For tummy time, Dad learns that at first baby can only lift her head for a few seconds before needing to put it down.  With daily practice she will lift it up for a lot longer.  To force baby to be in a sitting position when she can not yet hold her head up on her own for very long is detrimental to her development.  Instead, put her in the position where she can lift her head on her own and put it down to rest when she needs to.

Challenge baby when she is in a good mood to discover something new. A baby who is tired, sick, hungry, or fussy will not learn.  It is a waste of time and energy.  Let them have what they need – either rest, sleep, or food – and try working with her a bit later or the next day.  Babies learn quickly when they are happy and comfortable.

Last but definitely not least – praise!  Babies love to receive praise from mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, auntie and uncle, brother and sister, teacher and friend.   Praise them with specific words telling them what they are doing.  Rather than saying, “Good job, Ivan,” when he crawls a few steps, say “Good crawling, Ivan.”  Always tell them what it is they are doing by using the name of the physical skill they are learning.  Babies understand your words long before they can speak.

With these 4 parenting tips for encouraging motor skill development, baby learns to try new challenges when they are presented.  Because she develops a bank of successful experiences,  she then feels confident to try new movements.  If she could talk, she would say, “Excellent parenting, Mom!  Great coaching, Dad!”


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