Your child's motor skills development, from one and a half to four

At this age, your child needs to move about a lot. They investigate their surroundings with great interest, their motor skills develop and coordination is refined.

Once your child can move around with you, he or she becomes more independent. Your child can investigate their world even more, and learn an enormous amount.

Children need to move about a lot
It's both good and important to give your child an opportunity to move around, and children are keen to do a lot of clambering, walking and running during this period. It's also important that an adult is on hand, because now things happen in the blink of an eye. Suddenly your child has climbed up onto a chair or grabbed a tablecloth.

Your baby can now hold a crayon, draw and use building blocks. Both adapted toys and children's cooking implements are fun, and need to be both whacked and tasted. Your child's speech may stop developing for a while during a period of active physical investigation. This is quite normal, and it'll soon get going again.

The increasing importance of the pincer grasp
At the same time, your child will increasingly investigate things with their fingers instead of their mouth. The pincer grasp, in which your child uses their thumb and fingertip, is now one of their most important tools.

Most children can now drink independently from a mug. They can hold a spoon in one hand and a plate in the other. They learn to eat independently, but often prefer to hold the food in their hands. This is all part of their development: children need to both see and feel the food before putting it in their mouths.

Starting to run and jump
After mastering getting up, jumping and clambering, children are steadier on their feet and start being able to run, stand on tiptoe, kick a ball, climbing onto furniture and get down without assistance, as well as going up and downstairs. Everything should happen under the eye of an adult, which can sometimes feel frustrating, since a child can practise going up and down the same stair for what seems like an age.

Two-year-old children often move around constantly and are developing a lot. Many also start learning how to drive a pedal car and ride a tricycle. These physical activities stimulate both the brain's development and the motor skills.

Repeating and learning
Repetition is now the most important way for children to learn new things. For example, they think it's fun to jump from a low height, or throw a ball over and over again. When your child is around 3-4 years old, they can start to use children's scissors and draw circles. Many can also paint with slightly thicker brushes.

Your child can now run and jump with ease, and is keen to move about for longer. Many children can dress themselves, walk backwards for a short distance, balance on one leg for a while, jump with both feet together and ride a tricycle. Children often like kicking a ball, but find it more difficult to catch it in their hands. This skill develops later.

Four-year-olds can cut and draw
Fine motor skills have now developed, so your child can move their fingers independently of one another. They can often also eat independently and use a fork and spoon. Some children can now hold a pen or crayon between their thumb and index finger when drawing, while others still use their whole hand. Some children now recognise their name when they see it written down. Many children can use scissors, and can cut more or less along drawn lines.

Further reading 
How the senses and your baby's brain develop
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