Motor Development Features of 0-72 Months Children

The skills that develop through trial and learning in the first years after the birth of the individual form the basis of motor development. While gaining skills, the baby first gets to know and explore his own body and the world he lives in.

Definition and Importance of Motor Development

As a motor word, it means “movement”. motor development; It is the ability of the organism to gain voluntary mobility with the development and physical growth of the central nervous system . Psychomotor development; Decreases in motor skills that progress continuously throughout life, or acquisition of new skills, etc. It encompasses all physical development and changes. motor movements; It is the use of muscles, joints and vocal cords in line with the individual’s purpose. Motor skill is the use of the force required for a behavior to occur, through experience and learning, as necessary. In addition to physical development, the development of muscles and nervous system also has important functions in the acquisition of movement and skills. The acquisition of motor development skills that begin in the mother’s womb continues throughout life. The physical development of the newborn baby, which begins in the mother’s womb, continues at an increasing rate after birth. Reflexes, which are considered the basis of motor development, are the first movements of the baby. Breathing, blinking, etc. Some reflexes last a lifetime. Some reflexes are acquired, learned, etc. as a result of the maturation of organs. motor skills and will gradually develop into voluntary movements. The motor development of the individual is quite rapid in the first years. The skills gained in motor movements are universal and their order is not changed. However, age and acquisition time may vary with individual differences. For example, a baby cannot sit without holding his neck, cannot crawl without sitting, and cannot walk without crawling. Whether the growth is visible or not, the changes in the acquired skills are visible. Physical growth cannot be separated from motor development. While growth can be explained by physical development, development can be explained by motor development. Many factors are effective in the development of motor skills that occur with maturation, experience and learning in the individual. Nutrition, gender, socioeconomic and cultural level, environmental conditions, etc. factors greatly affect motor development. Knowing the stages in the motor development of the child will guide the educational planning according to the age and development level. Negative motor skills; maladaptive behaviors, retardation, aggression, etc. situations may occur. When negativities are detected, the development of motor skills should be supported by including activities that will meet the needs of the child and support body development. The interaction between heredity and environment greatly influences motor development. Motor development follows a series of steps. These steps progress from simple to complex, from easy to difficult. Motor development cannot be separated from cognitive, social and emotional development.

Principles of Motor Development

Development is from head to toe :

newborn baby; It provides head control first, then neck control, then trunk control, and finally arm, leg and foot control.

Development is from the inside (centre) outward:

The baby first sits, then crawls, stands, steps, walks, runs, and finally performs the ability to walk on tiptoe.

The development is from the general to the specific:

While the baby reaches for the toy with his whole body in order to take the toy in front of him, he extends his arm later on, and in the later period he reaches out and grabs the toy with his fingers.

Factors Affecting Motor Development

The effects of heredity and environment on the development of the child begin before birth. Development, which is the joint product of heredity and environment interaction, also significantly affects motor development. Children’s muscle, bone, height, gender, etc. Its development and maturation are determined by heredity. The fact that the environmental conditions and hereditary characteristics of the child’s life are different causes him to experience differences in his development. There are also developmental differences between siblings. Children’s exercises, sports activities, movements and games are very effective in supporting and acquiring their motor development and skills.

Prenatal factors

Race and heredity, chromosomal and gene disorders, radiation, Rh (blood) incompatibility, age of the mother, mother’s infection, psychological state of the mother, pregnancy poisoning, drugs used by the mother, harmful habits of the mother (alcohol, smoking, substance use, etc.), insufficient and unbalanced diet, etc. Conditions are very effective on the motor development of the baby.

Birth factors

Forceps, vacuum, etc. unconscious use of tools, lack of oxygen in the birth canal of the baby, umbilical cord entanglement around the neck, trauma and injury during birth, maladjustment, late and difficult birth, wrong birth interventions, etc. situations affect the motor development of the child.

Postpartum factors

Individual differences, preterm birth, attachment (the bond between the baby and the caregiver), the child’s physical characteristics, nutrition patterns, diseases and accidents, climates and seasons, richness or lack of environmental stimuli, attitudes and behaviors of the family, gender and birth order, socioeconomic and cultural level, exercise and sports activities etc. Conditions are very effective on the motor development of the child.


Attention; It is the individual’s ability to collect his feelings and thoughts on a situation, object or event. One of the most important factors for learning to take place is attention. The child’s sense of research, interest and curiosity is very important in the development of attention. For example, when the child hears the sound of the rattle, he looks in that direction and tries to explore. From the moment he sees the rattle, he increases his attention, follows the rattle with his eyes and tries to get it.

Balance; It is defined as maintaining the behavior and situation of the individual as they are. Balance is very important in acquiring certain behaviors and skills. For example, the child’s climbing stairs, jumping with one foot, walking on the line, etc. needs to maintain and maintain balance to perform skills

Force; It is the ability to take action in the face of force or resistance and to resist resistance. Force is required for movement to occur. Nutrition, muscle, bone, age, gender, maturity level, time, etc. factors are very effective in increasing muscle strength. For example, the child needs strength to ride his bicycle and carry it from one place to another. The applied force is different for each job.

Response speed; All internal and external factors that cause the individual to react, stimulate all his senses, differentiate his situation, are called ‘stimulators’. The response of the body to internal or external stimuli is called ‘reaction’. The time elapsed between an effect that the body encounters and its reaction to this effect is called ‘reaction time’. For example, if the child cannot adjust his reaction speed well to catch the thrown ball, he cannot catch the ball. If he cannot adjust his reaction speed when he sees an object in front of him while running, he cannot stop, falls or crashes.

Flexibility; It is the ability to use the muscle and skeletal maturity and competence of the body in the most effective way. The desired movement is to be done in the most effective way and from a wide angle. Since the bones and muscles of the child are not fully developed in the first years of life, the flexibility of the body is quite high. Studies have shown that girls are more flexible than boys. For example, the child can move right, left, down, up, etc. while doing ballet. Moving in directions shows that it is flexible.

Co-ordination; The muscles, joints and central nervous system required for the realization of a behavior to work in harmony and to show continuity. As the body matures, coordination between organs also increases. For example, hand, eye, arm, body, etc., so that the child can stack his toys and build a tower. organs must be coordinated.

Motor Development Areas

newborn babies are the first motor movements. These involuntary (unconscious) movements at the beginning give way to voluntary (conscious) movements as the baby grows over time. When the motor development of children is examined, it is seen that there are two types of movement. These; large muscle / gross motor development and small muscle / fine motor development are movement patterns. In the development of these two movements, first the development of large muscle movement skills and then the development of small muscle movement skills takes place. For example, the child first turns towards the object, then extends his arms in turn, grasps the object with his fingers, squeezes and shapes the object.

Large muscle/gross motor development

These are the skills that enable to perform a movement using body organs (arm, leg). It is also known as skills that require extensive muscle use. Gross motor skills can be examined in three ways.

  • Locomotor movements: These are movements related to moving the body from one place to another. It is all of the movements that include the change of place. For example, running, crawling, bouncing, crawling, walking, jumping, sliding, rolling, jumping, jumping, walking with different rhythms, etc. are movements.
  • Non- locomotor movements: These are the movements performed without moving the body to a different place from where it is. For example, turning, pulling, pushing, stretching, bending, bending, swinging, stretching, rising, etc. are movements
  • Balance movements: It is the continuation of the movement as it is. Balance; Any job that requires skill. Balance underlies all movements. Babies’ sitting and standing efforts are the first signs of balance. For example, jumping, bending, being able to stand on one leg, riding a bike, reaching up, bending, stretching, turning, swinging, rolling, stopping, throwing, walking on a balance board or wall, etc. Movements are about balance.

small muscle/fine motor development

These are skills that require making a movement using small muscles (hands, fingers, feet). Small muscle/fine motor development occurs after large muscle/gross motor development. Girls are ahead of boys in fine motor development. Fine motor development, along with the ability to control and use objects It also includes skills that involve the use of hands and feet, called manipulative skills.

  • Ability to use objects by controlling them: Ball bouncing, flipping, hitting, throwing, catching, kicking, throwing over the hand, rolling the ball from the ground, kicking the ball, hitting the ball with a stick or racket, etc. are movements. Manipulative skills include grasping, releasing and reaching.
  • Other skills related to fine motor development: Controlling the ball with hands and feet, hitting the ball in the air, bouncing the ball, playing the piano, cutting, sticking, writing, drawing, holding, grasping, grabbing, using hands and feet, etc. are skills.

Motor Development Periods

Theorists doing research on motor development have determined that while children gain movement skills, they perform these movements by following a certain order universally. Motor development periods continue in successive steps in all children. In motor development stages, each child may not progress in the same order with the effect of individual differences. Although there are no definite limits on when and at what steps they can acquire skills, differences can be observed among children. Theorists, who argue that development continues step by step in the mother’s womb , mention that development continues in a certain order after birth. theorists; They state that heredity contributes considerably to the rate of development, and they emphasize that the environmental factor also plays an important role. Theorists have searched for various ways to describe movement development behaviors and to better and understandably describe the period from the moment a person is born to the time when he or she will end his life. These studies led theorists to the pyramid symbol. They tried to explain the steps of motor development skills by using the pyramid model. One of these theorists , Gallahue ( Gallahue ), using the pyramid model, processed the motor development steps in this symbol until childhood and tried to explain the periods step by step .

Motor development skills are discussed in four steps in the pyramid.

  • Reflex movements period (last 4 months to 1 year before birth)
  • Primitive movements period (0-2 years)
  • Basic movement period (2-7 years)
  • Sports movement period (7 years and above)

Gallahue , other theorists Goodway and Ozmun , by working on the steps in the pyramid model and by developing the pyramid, he argued that it would be more understandable to switch to the ‘three-legged hourglass’ model. They thought that they could explain the motor development steps better with the hourglass model. They tried to understand why the movements that should have taken place in different periods of life changed and why they took place in this way. Gallahue expresses the motor development in the hourglass as follows.

He likened man and his life to an hourglass, and described the sand as the situations that people have and will have later, and symbolized the hourglass itself as a human. He argued that the hourglass expresses human life, and that the sand in it has some characteristics that come to people with the effect of heredity and environment. According to Gallahue , the sand in the hourglass is all the ancestral and innate characteristics of the individual. Here , Gallahue stated that the input part of inheritance is closed, while the input part of the environment part is open. He explained the reason for this as follows. He stated that the part of heredity is the traits that come with the innate genes to the human being, that they cannot be acquired later, and that the environmental part is both innate and acquired traits. With this analogy, he tried to explain to what extent motor development could be affected by the effects of heredity and environment. Sand in the hourglass flows primarily from the heredity part during the period of reflexive and primitive movements. He emphasized that the environment part can always be supported by adding various sands, but nothing can be added later on the inheritance part . Therefore, he stated that the sequential progression of motor development in the first five years is stable and resistant to change.

Gallahue also explained the inversion of the hourglass as follows. He argued that the sociocultural status of individuals determines the time of the hourglass reversal. After a certain age, individuals’ family, children, work, etc. they start to take responsibilities, start paying debts, increase their busyness, etc. stated that they had difficulty in finding time due to situations. He states that these situations prevent people from gaining new motor skills, so the hourglass is turned upside down when they cannot develop the motor skills they have acquired.

Reflex movements period (prenatal period, last 4 months-1 year)

It includes the period between the last four months before the birth of the baby and one year after the birth. Reflexes are babies’ first unconscious responses to external stimuli. Reflex movements in babies are vital. Reflexes are babies’ first steps in getting to know life. Reflexes can turn into conscious responses of babies in the following years. Every newborn healthy baby is expected to be able to show these reflexes. In cases where some of the reflexes cannot be observed in some babies, the reason is thought to be due to a central nervous system problem. The message can be received that some neurological problems may occur in the following years in babies who are deprived of reflexes. When a problem is encountered, the necessary diagnosis should be made and measures should be taken as soon as possible. The period of reflex movements is divided into two phases.

Information storage stage: It is the stage that starts in the prenatal period and includes the first fourth month after birth. The main task of infants’ reflexes in this period is to feed, protect and store information.

Information decoding stage: It starts from the fourth month of the newborn baby and covers the period up to one year old. Babies’ reflexes gradually begin to disappear and conscious (voluntary) reactions begin to take their place.

reflexes; primary (primitive) reflexes and postural reflexes are examined in two groups.

Reflexes that start in the 4th month in the mother’s womb are the efforts of babies to hold on to life and are of vital importance. Reflexes are reactions that make it easier for the baby to adapt to the outside world. Timely observation and disappearance of reflexes is accepted as an indicator of the healthy development of the baby’s central nervous system.

Primary (primitive) reflexes; It functions in three ways in the baby. These; These are vital reflexes such as feeding, baby’s self-protective behaviors and information storage. For example, catching, grasping, sucking and swallowing and searching behaviors are primitive reflexes. These reflexes start in the womb before babies are born and continue until the 12th month after birth.

Postural reflexes; They are reflexes that babies perform completely unconsciously, but similar to their conscious behavior in later life. For example, it is seen that the stepping reflex at birth resembles walking behavior in the future, while the catching reflex turns into grasping (holding) and releasing behavior later on.

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Motor Development Features of 0-72 Months Children

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