Children develop from the inside out, and gross motor development (big body play) is essential prior to the development of fine motor control. When a child’s body and brain are exposed to lots of movement, they develop a strong and stable body which then enables fine motor development, such as getting dressed, opening containers and printing.
When a child is sedentary, they don’t move their body, which directly impacts gross motor skills and in turn impacts fine motor development. When children are young, their brains and bodies are undergoing rapid development that requires movement, touch, human connection, and nature.
Children who spend hours playing video games are not developing gross motor. I often hear that video games require eye-hand coordination, a logical premise; however, this is misleading as the majority of functional fine motor skills such as reading and printing have no relation whatsoever to playing video games.
Before I sound like the Technology Grinch, I do want to reiterate, that not all technology, or screen time is bad. Children who use pro-social, slow paced, educational content for short durations, exhibit applied learning and positive behaviors. Watching educational documentaries (Have you seen Planet Earth? – Amazing!) is a wonderful way to teach your child about the natural environment in a positive and healthy way.
This winter, I would like to encourage all families to put the screen away and instead read, play, and engage with your child. It is after all, what is best for them and for you.
Marie Voss-Patterson, Principal