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Friday, April 28, 2017

Gross Motor Development in 7-12 Year-Olds By Trisha Roberts

When we think of developing gross motor skills, we often concentrate on the first three years of life.  Certainly this is the time of greatest change and advancement, yet children continue to develop new skills and refine existing skills through adolescence. A person’s peak physical performance is usually before 30, between the ages of 18 and 26.

What should a 7 to 12 year old be able to do? By 7 years of age, a child should be able to skip, walk on tip toes, jump, ride a bicycle, skate, and bounce a ball several times in a row (dribble).  In these elementary years, running speed increases as does the accuracy and distance of throwing and kicking skills. Balance, coordination, and motor planning skills continue to advance. 

Biking starts at 7 years of age

Practicing baseball throwing and catchingBatting SkillsIf your child is struggling to keep up with other children or does not seem to have the same abilities as their peers, it might be advisable to have a thorough evaluation by a Pediatric Physical Therapist.  I also encourage parents to be very actively involved with their children’s teachers, especially the Physical Education Instructor.  Find out what units will be presented during the year and when.  If you know your child will be playing baseball in May, start working on the skills that they will need in April.  Practice throwing and catching, running bases, batting, etc.  We all have a “learning curve”.  Some children take more time to learn something new; if the skill is introduced several weeks in advance, your child will have a bit longer to master the activity and will be more on par with the rest of the class when the unit starts.

Sliding skills in baseball for children

It is important to encourage physical activity at an early age.  A variety of health organizations and studies suggest at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise several days per week.  Team sports in the community or school can help, but any physical activity with benefit your child’s health.

Playing soccer as a family

 I encourage families to make exercise a part of their routine.  After school or after dinner is a great time to go for a walk together.  Find a local park or playground and become regular visitors.  Ride bikes around the neighborhood.  Find a family-friendly walk-a-thon or mini-marathon and participate as a family!

Walking together as a familyActive Family Fun

Family Marathon Run

 Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

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