Environmental factors effecting motor skill development

Child development is defined as to how a child ables itself to complete more difficult tasks as they grow in age. Development is often confused with growth, which refers to a child’s tendency to grow bigger in size. Parents can become concerned easily when a child’s developmental skills take longer then the “normal” or when pressures of milestones are not satisfied “on time”. Developmental milestones are functioning tasks or skills that should occur at specific ages. Observing what specific environmental factors influence the development of motor skills in the infant and toddler stages and how that compares to my findings of the children I personally documented, is what will be discussed. I searched for other scholars who have current information and academic research of similar topics finding information that was both, similar as to my own research concluding a main point that the environment of these children have an effect on how they will learn.

A common topic that has been analyzed in these journals is Gross motor skill development. It is a specific factor that plays a crucial role in the child’s overall development and of course combined with the environment in which the child is confined to has a profound effect to the development of these motor skills (newton 2008) . The aim of this study was focusing on the two main environmental factors affecting children motor development. Looking over the articles it reveals that there are many particular factors within the family details such as socioeconomic status, mother’s educational level, relationships with family and the existence of siblings can also affect a child’s motor ability, Preschools also have became an infuencial part of development for all children but also can be a detriment to a child’s development by not attending, due to the simple fact that nowadays large amounts of time children spend at them so by not having a child go through life with preschool would set them back as far as motor development goes. The social-cultural background where a child is brought up from, creates specific demands for his/her motor behavior.

This thought can go with the fact that movement programs are very important for the development as well, such as physical education, especially if the social-cultural environment that the child is in does not require them to be very active. If the child is not pushed or has no motivation to do these obstacles, that are often taken for granted, then can cause a long term even life altering issue down the road. These are all the “social norms” nowadays with children. It is becoming incredibly competitive to get into colleges and other type of educational programs and it all starts from these crucial infant years where all these environmental factors that the family contributes too have a say in what a child will be like as it develops. Many of these environments are expected and often not over looked or analyzed by parents due to the reason that the child is so young that these things don’t have an impact on them yet.

That is false, the first five years of a child’s life are the most important in developing these motor skills for the rest of their life, and that is a fact that is not looked at close enough by parents. This is a huge developmental problem that has been happening for ever and now that there is studies and documentation proving that this here is correct, it needs to be and is being put into action. All of the environmental factors have some way played a role in the children I observed lives but because of the limited length of paper I will discuss the two most obvious influences.

This purpose of this paper is to document the environment that infants and toddlers are in and describe how these environmental factors have affected them. To begin I observed a toddler and an infant but both of the same family. The two children are different ages but similar environments and upbringings. I observed the children in there home environment looking at the situation as a Mother-child interaction first then I observed the sibling vs sibling interactions that the children tended to take a like too. I continued to follow the children on and off for two weeks at different locations and got the opportunity to observe the toddler and infant in both of these settings. At each observation site I sat with a notepad and jotted down how they interacted under these three circumstances and noted of the surroundings environments each time I observed. At the end I had a lot of notes and information to choose from, but the way that I chose what information to use was by organizing my notes into my three main cases then divided them into infant and toddler. All the situations that most frequently happened for each child i used as conclusive information and discarded the minor details.

The majority of the two weeks of observing the infant under these two cases my evidence appeared to be quite on point with other researchers studies. To begin, the mother-infant relationship (parent-child). WIthin my study I found when playing with each other the infant was much more responsive to this one on one play then a group of people. What I noticed was the child did not do as much looking and observing like statistics show or as he did in the other cases. seven out of fifteen times the mother demonstrated what I wanted the infant to do, that involved a motor skill, most of the time picking up a block or a toy car, the child attempted the action after watching the mother demonstrate.

What I noticed of those fifteen times all seven of the successful tries were because it was right in front of him. if it was far away he would try with a different object that was closest to him and wouldn’t even notice that he was using a different toy. As for the toddler he payed much closer attention but on the contrary of his fifteen attempts he actually cared that he used the same exact object as his mom. For him I used a test involving throwing of a ball. His mother would throw the ball using different styles such as over the head, two hand, one had, and under arm. Eight of the fifteen attempts the toddler successfully mimicked the motor skill of which hand to use and the style in which the mom threw it, which was very surprising in this case for the reason that this usually does not develop until five or six years of age.

The next case I observed was the sibling vs sibling. typically we think of the mother to be seen as the leader to specific child development. However, when the child has siblings the situation becomes much more influenced. (circirelli 1975). A child’s position in the family or sex even of the sibling has a huge influence on the interactions they have. The environment used was once again the home setting but the family has there own jungle gym outside in the backyard. I used this play set to see if these sibling influences can play a role in development of specific skills . Studies have shown that, irrespective of the age difference among the children of the family, the elder siblings lead the youngers’ behaviour (circirelli 1975) and those in turn imitate elders’ movements (abramovitch et al. 1979: Lamb 1978). As I continued my research outside I watched and studied how they were interacting. The younger infant, surprisingly can walk at his age of sixteen months old.

There was a set of stairs that the toddler was walking up to get to the top of the gym and eventually slide down the slide to only continue the process over and over again. The infant continued to watch and observe for about fifteen minutes with no signs of him motivated to make a move or give it a try. To our surprise the infant began pointing and mumbling as if he wanted to make an attempt. He was brought over to the play set, climbing up the steps and eventually we got him to go down the slide. He held his hands on the railings same position as where she did as if he was copying her techniques exact and the influence of his big sister took effect. This whole process took about twenty- twenty five minutes but once he tried it one time, the infant, like his toddler sister continued to doing the routine using similar if not the same route.

All in all he was hesitant, the infant waited, studied, and then slowly analyzed the process as he did it for his first time, and then continued to go on with the process as his big sister had been. The infant and the toddler both have demonstrated there developing gross motor skills. These skills are coordinated with many other parts of the body such as the legs and arms and the ability to notice what one is doing and mimic the other is all part of the development of the these physical abilities of large body movements ( Berger, 2009).

Reference section
1.) kambas, A. (2009). environmental factors affecting preschoolers motor development. 2.) Infants learn about objects from statistics and people. By: Wu, Rachel, Gopnik, Alison, Richardson, Daniel C., Kirkham, Natasha Z., Developmental Psychology, 00121649, 20110901, Vol. 47, Issue 5

3.) Research Institute MOVE, Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

4.)nicholson, T. (2010, june 2). What can a one year old do?. Retrieved from 5.)Developmental Science; Nov2009, Vol. 12 Issue 6, p1060-1069, 10p, 3 Charts, 4 Graphs

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