Movement plays a huge role in a child’s development. A child first learns to walk around age one and once mobile he/she is constantly trying to perfect this skill. A child at this stage walks just for the sake of it and it is in moving around that s/he perfects the skill and develops fully so as much as possible s/he should not be scolded or restrained when s/he tries to move around. Unlike adults who move around because they have goals, the child moves around just for the sake of it. It is in walking and moving around that the child gets to familiarize him/her with and understands the environment in which he finds himself/herself. Movement helps in the development of a child’s mind and development of muscles and balance.
Movement is a key component of learning. Children engage in various activities that help in their development. They engage in play mostly for fun but play has distinct functions for the child. S/He achieves competence in performing everyday task through skills acquired during play. Through observing, exploring, speculating and making discoveries, children find out about the world around them. When children are engaged in their chosen activities, it has a soothing effect on them, relieves boredom, they learn to entertain themselves and deal with unpleasantries like pain.
Movement enables a child to improve fine motor skills like tying his/her shoe-lace, drawing and gross motor skills for climbing, running, pedaling and balancing. Play aids a child’s development of imagination and creativity, provides a context in which to practice social skills, acts like an outlet for emotional expression and provides opportunity to understand value systems. Trips and visits to interesting places aid the child in gathering relevant information.
Through movement thought is expressed. There must be a connection between thoughts and muscles. Without movement, desires and decisions cannot be carried out.
My 18 months old daughter uses movement to express herself often. When she was 12 months old and needed to make use of the toilet, she goes to the door of the toilet and stands in front of it, holds her dress up and moves around the area. I understood that she needed to use the toilet. At other times when she found the door open, she would pick up her potty and bring it to me indicating she needed to relieve herself. As soon as she noticed we were going out, she would pick up her shoes and hand it to us, indicating that she wants to go out with us. When she was younger about three to four months old, as soon as she sees me approaching she stretches out her hands to show that she wanted to be carried.
In our environment we initiate activities that restrain movement in a child and encourage them to engage in more sedentary activities like long hours of television viewing and increasing number of computer games to stop them from disturbing us or as a means to keep them well behaved. Children need movement so find time to let them play.