It’s been a while since I entered information from the” Washington State Early Leaning and Development Benchmarks–Review Draft, November 2004.”
Gross Motor Skills are often most notable when a child enters Kindergarten. Suddenly your child seems quite adept and physically capable, or you are worried that he is left-out due to his poor physical coordination or her inability to even try to catch a ball.
So, here are the Benchmarks for Gross Motor Skills for children entering Kindergarten. Goal: Children demonstrate strength and coordination of large muscles.
Some Indicators for Children:
- Runs smoothly and with few falls.
- Hops first on one foot, then the other.
- Maintains balance while bending, twisting, or stretching.
- Walks up and down stairs while holding an object in one or both hands.
- Moves body into position to catch a ball, then throws the ball in the right direction.
- Kicks large ball to a given point with some accuracy.
- Skips with skill.
Some Strategies for Caregivers:
- Provide child the opportunity to participate in activities that develop large muscles (e.g., soccer, dance, basketball, freeform play with balls, bicycle riding).
- Ask child to help with simple small physical chores (e.g., taking out trash, raking leaves).
Children have their own developmental time clocks, which don’t always correspond with what the “experts” say or write about. However, if you are concerned about your kindergartener and her gross motor skills, here are some suggestions to think about before you decide that something is physically amiss:
- Has your child been making steady progress in being able to do more physically challenging tasks? If so, then your child may be a little behind, but seems to be gradually catching up to his or her peers.
- If your child has suddenly seemed to stop enjoying a sport or task, try to discern if there is any anxiety or physical discomfort associated with the sport or task. Has anyone made a negative comment about your child’s abilities overheard by your child?
- Try to be aware that there is a bell curve as to a child’s development. Sometimes we tend to judge our children by the most talented/skilled/etc child in his class. And sometimes our memories become flawed with age, and we believe our child isn’t living up to his potential, because we could do it so much better when we were her age.
- If your child truly seems to be struggling to keep up with her peers, please don’t hesitate to ask your pediatrician or your child development center to give you an assessment of your child’s developmental progress and how you can help your child.
As always, be gentle with yourself and your children. They watch and listen and learn before they can tell you what they are recording for yours and their future.