Copyright

Motor Development in Infancy, Early Childhood & Adolescence Video

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Are Fine Motor Skills in Children? - Development, Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 What is Motor Development?
  • 0:53 Motor Development in Infancy
  • 2:18 Motor Development in Childhood
  • 3:34 Motor Development in…
  • 4:46 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Motor development changes throughout the lifespan. This lesson discusses motor development in infancy, early childhood, and adolescence. Both gross and fine motor development are addressed.

What is Motor Development?

Have you ever held a newborn baby? If so, you probably know that you must support the heads of newborn babies because the muscles in their necks are not yet strong enough to do so. This is one small example of motor development.

Motor development is the term that represents the way one's ability to control bodily movements increases as he or she grows. Gross motor development refers to one's ability to control his or her large muscle groups, like arms and legs. Balance is also an important part of gross motor development. Finally, fine motor development represents the use of our small muscle groups, like fingers, more precisely for things like handwriting or drawing.

Now that we understand what motor development is, let's take a closer look at the ways it changes throughout the lifespan.

Motor Development in Infancy

When babies are born, movement is usually the result of reflexes. Reflexes are unplanned automatic responses to environmental stimuli. For example, if a baby is cold, he or she might shiver. This is a reflex because the baby did not have to think about shivering; it took place automatically.

As the brains of babies develop, reflexive behaviors begin to subside and motor development increases. For example, an older baby might cover himself or herself with a blanket if cold. Motor development would allow the baby to reach out for the blanket.

Gross motor development happens before fine motor development. Both occur from brain maturation. In short, as the brain develops, connections are made that increase coordination and balance. For example, as gross motor development occurs, babies begin to hold up their own heads without support. A bit later, they may be able to roll over and scoot around. Eventually they'll crawl, walk, and run. This is the typical pattern of gross motor development in infancy.

Fine motor development takes a bit more time for infants. It usually begins with babies placing their fingers or toes in their mouths. Next, they may reach out for something like a rattle or bottle. Eventually, they can use their fingers to complete simple puzzles or turn the pages of a book. As fine motor development progresses from infancy to childhood, both gross and fine motor development become more refined.

Motor Development in Childhood

Think about how wobbly a baby's first steps are. This quickly gives way to skipping, running, jumping, and climbing in childhood. Again, these advances are related to an increase in brain development as babies grow into children. As the brain grows and develops in children, processing speed increases, and the two hemispheres of the brain begin to communicate more effectively. This contributes to the advances in motor development.

Gross motor development improves vastly during childhood. Muscle gets stronger; balance, coordination, and speed increase; and endurance improves. For example, most children move quickly from scooting on a ride-on toy, to pedaling a three wheeled tricycle, to a bicycle with training wheels, to a two-wheeled bicycle. This exemplifies the progression of gross motor development throughout childhood.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support