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Activities That Help Develop Your Baby’s Fine Motor Skills

As your baby grows, they start developing their fine motor skills, which is the ability to perform small, precise movements. While they should largely develop these skills on their own, you can help them progress. Furthermore, you can monitor their development to make sure they're on track. 

In this blog, Gina Labovitz, MD, FAAP, at Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, discusses how you can help them develop their fine motor skills as well as milestones you can watch for to make sure they stay on track.

What are fine motor skills?

Someone who has fine motor skills has the ability to coordinate their muscles, bones, and nerves to do small, precise tasks, such as pointing or picking up small items with their fingers. As your baby grows, they should be continually developing these skills.

Having these skills means your child will one day be able to tie their shoes, brush their teeth, and take care of themselves. Children normally start developing these skills within the first three months.

What are some of the milestones?

Here are some general guidelines of what babies should be able to do as they grow.

0-3 months

At this age, your baby should be able to put their hands in their mouth.

3-6 months

During this time, your baby should be able to hold their hands together.

6-9 months

At this age, your baby should be able to reach to grasp things or do a raking motion with their hands.

9-12 months

At this age, your baby should be able to pick up things, hold things, and play with blocks. They may try to put food in their mouth, too.

If your child is behind on any of these milestones, it may not be anything to worry about. Try doing some of the following activities to help them. But, keep a watchful eye and let us know about anything you're concerned about.

Activities that can help develop fine motor skills

Babies need stimulation and interaction as they grow and develop. Put a few of your fingers in their palm. Eventually, they’ll learn to grasp your fingers. Put a rattle, block, or another toy in their hand for the same reaction. If they drop it, that’s OK. They need to learn how to pick up things, too. 

Have them play on their belly as you supervise them. This will help them develop upper body and back strength. You can also use a baby gym full of colorful objects to get their attention. Even singing nursery rhymes while playing with their fingers or toes will help. But, no matter what you do, make sure everything is large enough to prevent a choking hazard. 

Remember, all babies develop at different rates. What’s normal for your current baby may not be normal for your next one. The important thing is to interact with them to help them develop their fine motor skills and reach out if you think there may be a problem.

To learn more about how you can help your child develop their fine motor skills, or to share any concerns you may have about their development, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics today.

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