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Gross motor skills develop sequentially during the early years of childhood and form a solid foundation for a child’s future development. While every child reaches motor skills milestones at their own pace, there are approximate ages and stages during which most of the development occurs. The skills build upon each other and if one is delayed or missed, future development is impacted. This delay is called Gross Motor Skills Delay and can be managed through early intervention.

Promoting Age-appropriate Motor Skill Development

Children need at least 60 minutes or more of unstructured play activity each day. This is important as it impacts the children’s development across all domains. Participation in regular physical outdoor activities also assists with improved self-regulation. Being in a self-regulated state can help children adjust their level of readiness to engage in learning while at home or at preschool. Research also indicates that children with gross motor skill difficulties may exhibit delays in play skills. School- aged and preschool children with motor delays or coordination difficulties are known to be less involved in play and more socially isolated than their typical developing peers. Improved gross motor skills boost their level of self-esteem and confidence, and prepares them for participation in sports.

Gross Motor Skill Delay – Who Can Help My Child?

Early intervention is crucial to lessen the effects of a developmental delay or disability. The prime focus of early intervention is to support parents in promoting gross motor skills within their daily routines at home. An Occupational Therapist can help support your child with their day-to-day functioning so that they can learn to fulfil roles specific to their age and life stage. Developing a gross motor skill home activity list can help set out tasks and activities to focus on and practice.

The Occupational Therapist and team around your child will also collaborate with you to prioritise the most important skills for your child, taking your family, culture and environment into consideration. This collaborative approach creates the most lasting progress for your child’s future.

If you have any concerns about your child’s gross motor milestones, please complete a referral to contact Mission Australia. Mission Australia are the Early Childhood Partner in the Cairns region and are available to provide tailored early childhood services and support.