Psychomotor Development – Intervention

February 6, 2020
Proper training in psychomotor abilities is important in the development of the symbolic functions of thinking and behavior of a child.

The concept of psychomotor development instilled by our society is often blurry. Many people think that it’s only about making sure that children can move properly. However, it goes a lot further than that.

Psychomotor skills are, so to speak, the window to the world for a child in all its symbolic functions, both behavioral and cognitive.

Good psychomotor skills are usually the prelude to the proper acquisition of language and its proper use for communicating during their interactions with others. Therefore, the term psychomotricity integrates the cognitive, emotional, symbolic, and sensorimotor interactions of a child throughout their cognitive, motor, and emotional development.

The interventions aimed at improving psychomotor skills, as you can see below, work on certain aspects of the following elements:

  • Motor. Balance, laterality, and coordination.
  • Cognitive. Perception, representation, and creativity.
  • Affective-relational. The acquisition of limits, regulation of impatience, emotions, and security.
Three children exercising.

How to stimulate psychomotor development skills

In early childhood education, psychomotor activity, or the bodily experience in relation to adults and peers, objects and space, is essential for proper child development.

Any activities oriented at developing psychomotor skills should, therefore, be attractive, varied, motivating, pleasurable, and playful.

Today’s article deals with some fundamental ideas for proper psychomotor stimulation:

1. Space, materials, and the role of adults

Materials must be varied and suitable for a child’s age. This is because both the educator and the space used in the classes must be part of the child’s activity. The most indicated phases to create a psychomotor space are the following:

  • Space. It must be a safe environment. But, at the same time, it must be stimulating enough for them to develop the skills that interest them.
  • Materials. The more variety of materials in a classroom, the greater the psychomotor development of children will be.
  • The role adults play. A teacher must have the ability to watch and listen and to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. In addition, their attitude and involvement are essential.

2. Well-structured sessions

In order for children to make the most out of psychomotor sessions, there must be a well-designed structure. Thus, teachers should plan in detail the kind of activities they want to do during class.

In contrast, it’s also good to let children improvise their activities sometimes. This space of freedom mustn’t break from the basic norm; the teacher should be the leader at all times.

3. Games are important

Contrary to what many people, playing and games are some of the most useful activities children can do. It helps them with many, many things. For example, to explore the space around them and learn to follow rules. Also, to experiment and create and to interact with their peers.

There are different types of games and each one of them plays a different role during psychomotor sessions. However, all of them can help you reach some goal or another. Thus, they should be one of the main tools of anyone who wants to promote those skills in children.

The psychomotor development of 0-3 year-olds

In their first years of life, a child develops psychomotor skills so that, among other things, they’ll become autonomous and able to form relationships with others.

Thus, in this section, you’ll see how these skills evolve during their first three years of life. This way, it’ll be easier for you to determine if a child’s evolution is normal.

0 to 9 months

  • A child can lift their head when facing down.
  • They can fix their gaze and follow the movements of an object or a person.
  • They smile responding to a stimulus.
  • In addition, they can visually recognize their mother or caregiver.
  • They respond positively to social interactions by emitting some kind of sound.
  • They can flip from the belly position to the side and to an upside-down position.
  • Also, they can smile and move their legs when they recognize someone.
  • They know just who their caregivers are.
  • A child can sit without support.
  • They can stand with support.
  • Also, they smile at their image in a mirror and try to interact with it.
  • They become upset and cry when their main caregiver leaves their sight.
  • Finally, they’re uncomfortable with strangers.

9 to 12 months

  • At this stage, the child can sit and stand with support.
  • They can crawl.
  • Also, they can look for and find hidden objects.
  • They can put objects in a container and also remove them.
  • They can take their first steps while someone holds them.
  • In addition, they can have loving interactions with people.
  • They answer to their name.

Warning signs at 12 months

  • They can’t stand still without support.
  • They can’t hold objects with both hands.
  • Also, they don’t smile at familiar people.
  • They’re not interested in their surroundings.
  • They don’t emit sounds to get attention.
  • Finally, they don’t cry to protest about the absence of their caregiver or people they’re close to.

12 to 24 months

  • At this stage, the child can stand up and take a few unsupported steps.
  • They can roll a ball as an adult does.
  • They start using a spoon and gripping it tightly.
  • Also, they start eating solid food without problems.
  • They can freely handle construction games.
  • In addition, they recognize body parts.
  • They’re able to recognize unfamiliar people who belong to their daily environment.
  • They can recognize everyday objects like their spoon, towel, and toys.
  • Also, they can playfully mimic the movements of another person.
  • They accept the absence of the parents even though they may protest when they leave.
  • They can repeat the things they find funny to the ones that grab their attention.
  • In addition, they can explore and show curiosity about familiar objects.
  • They can drink in a cup holding it with both hands.
  • A child can bend over to pick up items.
  • They can recognize the spaces of their usual environment at home, at a park, at school, etc.
  • They can play with other children for short periods of time.
  • Also, they can share items with other children when they request them.
  • They can recognize some seasonal elements such as clothes, shoes, etc.

Psychomotor development – warning signs at the age of two

  • The child doesn’t walk.
  • They can’t point to the main parts of their body.
  • They never approach other children and don’t show interest in playing with them.
  • Also, they don’t recognize their various familiar spaces such as the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, etc.
  • They fail to mimic the actions of adults.
  • Finally, they don’t respond to their name.

24 to 30 months

  • Here, a child can jump with both feet.
  • They can throw a ball with their hands and kick it.
  • They can take off their shoes and unbutton their pants.
  • Also, they can use a spoon and a fork and drink from a cup without spilling.
  • They can go potty under supervision.
  • They can easily move through their usual spaces at home and at school.
  • In addition, they can identify some changes in nature that correspond to the various seasons.
  • They can recognize familiar people in photographs and play with other children.
  • They can differentiate people, animals, and plants in images.
  • Finally, they can say hello to familiar children and adults when asked.
A child playing in a ballpit.

Psychomotor development from 24 to 36 months

  • In this final stage of psychomotor development, a child can perform manual activities of manipulation such as screwing, fitting, or skewering.
  • They’re able to run and jump with some control.
  • They can ask to go potty whenever they need it.
  • Also, they start showing preferences for some of their classmates.
  • They can show affection for younger children and pets.
  • Finally, they know the social rules and habits of the groups they belong to.

Warning signs in a three-year-old child

  • They pee in their pants.
  • They’re unable to respond to simple commands.
  • Also, they can’t identify images.
  • They stay isolated and aren’t curious about things.
  • In addition, they don’t speak in full sentences.
  • They can’t mimic simple strokes.

Note that all these warning signs are nothing more than clues that should get your attention so that, if deemed necessary, you may consult a specialist who can help your child boost certain abilities.

However, don’t worry excessively if your child hasn’t yet reached the developmental milestones of their age. With timely intervention, most of their cognitive development delays can be repaired.