Published March 04, 2008 by
While your baby is busy growing taller, gaining weight and cutting teeth, he will also be learning how to interact physically with his environment.That is not to say that your baby’s physical development does not begin until after birth.No doubt you were well aware of your infant’s intra-uterine acrobatics.
During the first three months of your baby’s life, however, reflexes govern much of his behavior.As those newborn reflexes fade, they are replaced by more purposeful movements.As he gains strength and coordination in his muscles, your baby is able to explore and manipulate things in his environment. Each day, he moves more competently.
Physical development is divided into two categories: fine motor and gross motor. Fine motor skills require precise coordination of the small muscles.Acquisition of the hand-eye coordination is the focus of fine motor development.Gross motor skills are governed by larger, stronger, less exacting muscles.These skills include holding up the head, sitting, crawling, and walking.
Acquisition of developmental skills occurs in an orderly, predictable sequence.The precise timing of the mastery of any one skill, though, is subject to much normal variation-something to keep in mind when you are tempted to label your baby as “early or “late” in development.
Each baby approaches the world with his own unique style.Resist comparing your child with your friend’s children.When you hear that another child is walking at nine months, don’t despair because your child is still perfecting his crawl.Instead, focus on his special talents.For instance, your baby may be much better than another at picking up and examining small objects.No matter when it occurs, celebrate your child’s every accomplishment with him.
Physical development follows three general patterns: