Don’t Wait! It Can Become Really Late!
“You are so old and can’t even catch a ball properly. And, what is this thing about your falling here and there? You are so clumsy! Can’t you just balance yourself?”
I recently overheard this in the park. It was the voice of my exasperated neighbour, scolding his son at the latter’s failure of efficiently playing the game. At the superficial level, it was just another regular conversation between a parent and a child. However, I just couldn’t ignore it and started watching the child. He looked disinterested to play any further because he was unable to do what his father was expecting out of him. In fact, his gait and body’s response to the approaching ball were not quite apt. I know the child has been doing very good in academics in school. The only reason he loses marks is because of his handwriting. In fact, his mum often complains about his handwriting and the fact that there’s no improvement despite lot of effort.
I was touched by the sadness on the child’s countenance in the park that evening. So, I came back home and started doing some research on such things. And, I soon discovered that the issues he was struggling with could be due to his motor skills. Our motor skills decide our efficiency in performing the simple daily tasks of life, which require hand-eye, finger-finger, hand-finger, and body-hand-eye coordination. While majority of the kids master these skills, we overlook the degree of efficiency blaming it on the child’s lack of interest or their inability. This results in parents comparing their children to other children or accepting that God has not blessed them with a talented or smart kid. The kids, on the other hand, receive negative energy from their surroundings through their parents or teachers; further, their own self-consciousness - of their inability to perform a task flawlessly - brings down their confidence drastically.
While every child is unique and will follow their destiny, we as parents are always trying our best to help them live their lives comfortably as much as possible. And, that effort needs to start very early in life.
There are two types of motor skills: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. While gross motor skills develop by 6 years, the developmental stages for fine motor skills continue until 8 years. Therefore, there’s no time to procrastinate. As soon as a baby is about 6 months old, we can start introducing the right kind of toys and engage with them in various ways to constantly stimulate the development of their sensory organs. With the baby reaching different developmental milestones, the toys in the rack should keep changing based on their needs. Nevertheless, it is not just the physical stimulants, which help a child reach every milestone efficiently or master their gross and fine motor skills. They need enough stimulation for their emotional and brain development too. And to make the stimulation work effectively, every effort in the early years of life has to be complemented with the right intake of nutrition, which can be obtained from a variety of food types in our meals as well as health drinks, if required.
As a mother, I have often been confused if I am able to make the right combination of choosing the right stimulants for my son's physical and mental development. I’ve always depended a lot on Legos because they can really challenge a child’s creative imagination and also help them build things with or without rules. For nutrition, I have depended on our basic Indian regular diet and supported it with nutritional drinks, like Junior Horlicks, added to his daily doze of milk.
The choice is ours, but the need of the hour is very high. So, please make sure you are providing the right kind of environment for your child to be challenged and stimulated enough, so they are able to develop happily and efficiently. As is rightly quoted by someone, “The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out.”