Flickr / Markus Spiske

How To Promote Gross & Fine Motor Skills In Your Infant

Flickr / Markus Spiske
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Fine motor skills are what will one day allow your kid to crank the volume on a stereo or gracefully extend a pinky while sipping a martini. But right now they’re working on gross motor skills, like sticking fingers in their nose, the dog’s nose, your mouth. Actually, those aren’t necessarily skills, but they are kind of gross.

Moving past grossness and into martini territory means putting in some work on the “pincer grasp,” which is what allows them to hold things between the thumb and forefinger (or a deadly submission hold if you’re Conor McGregor. Or a Vulcan). You can encourage development of the pincer grasp like so:

  • In The Playroom: Foster the grasp with toys that require squeezing — like squirt bottles — or pushing together — like building bricks — or pulling apart — like Ken and Barbie after a bottle of chardonnay.
  • At The Dinner Table: Put different solid foods like cereal and raisins in an ice cube tray or egg carton. Consider velcro-ing said ice cube tray or egg carton to the dinner table.
  • Around The House: Go crazy and let that kid totally pull every single damn kleenex from the box. Rest easy knowing you’re helping them develop … until you have to clean it up.
  • Anytime And Everywhere Else: Try any of these other ideas that will make your baby more lobster-like.

Gross And Fine Motor Skills Development

The pincer grasp is not your kid’s only developing motor skill. You may have noticed their newfound passion for dumping things out – that’s because they’ve recently developed the strength to rotate their forearm. If they do one day hope to wreak havoc in the Octagon, in addition to pincers your baby will need to work on those arm, shoulder, and core muscles through the equivalent of baby pilates:

  • In The Kitchen: Resist every parental instinct and let your kid reach into cabinets, pull things out, and litter your kitchen floor with pots and pans. Besides building their muscles, it’s a great excuse to hide your sloppiness behind “development exercises.”
  • In The Nursery: Stock up on board books; turning pages is great for the fine motor skills in their hands. Sadly, this doesn’t work for you or your Crib Notes obsession would have your hands totally ripped. (Do you even read, bro?)
  • In The Playroom: Fill their toy chest with toys with buttons. If you’re not into all that noise, take them into the nearest elevator and delight in your button-mashing angel’s joy — your fellow riders will find this adorable.
  • Anytime And Everywhere Else: Get into any of these other awesome activities.

With a little patience and a whole lot of allowing your kid to go hog wild, they’ll be winning MMA battles and drinking martinis with you in no time.

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