Freedom of movement
That’s the hot trend right now: free motor skills. It would allow children, from an early age, to develop at their own pace, to gain self-confidence, and to become independent under the watchful eye of parents.
What is free motor skills?
The concept was invented by the Hungarian pediatrician Emmi Pikler in the 1920s. The idea is quite simple: remove all the constraints that you put on a child to force him to do something. Thanks to this free motor skills, the baby grows at his own pace, passing the stages when he feels it. For example, he will try to roll over on his stomach when he wants to. He won’t get it right the first time, but he’ll try again, rest, try again … until he succeeds on his own. What to gain self-confidence, and want to try new experiences!
Leave the child free of movement
Concretely, we must remove all childcare equipment that restricts the infant: no deckchair, no playpen, no seat for the bath … and when he is older, we do not buy a baby walker either. On the other hand, you can invest in a large mat to insulate the child from the floor, also provide corner protectors and non-slip mats in the tub or shower.
And let the child do it on their own, at their own pace. It does not mean that the parent has no role. On the contrary. A baby, to grow well, must feel confident. So you have to be there to protect it, to support it. For example, when the child tries to get on his stomach, his arm will get stuck regularly. Let him try to break free on his own. If after a minute or two he can’t do it, and before he gets angry, help him.
From the first days, you can leave your child lying on a mat on the floor. As he grows he will try to turn around on his own, grab the objects placed next to him, and then eventually he will learn to crawl and sit.
It is not advisable to set up an activity frame or a mobile before the baby can move around. Indeed, the infant has enough to occupy himself with his hands and his feet, to discover his body not to be interested in something else. And then an activity frame will limit him in his movements and in his attempts to turn over on his stomach.
The change, an important moment
One of the key moments in free motor skills is when changing diapers. From the first months, the child is asked to participate: by raising his legs to facilitate cleaning, then when he is older he can keep the diaper clean, cottons or wipes … You can also offer reach out to dress him, and wait for him to make the movement to put the garment on. It is a special moment with the child. He is calm and rather attentive. Take the time to talk to him, to explain to him what you are going to do.
Here’s a moment that all babies love: the bath! And to make this moment even more magical and pleasant for baby, opt for the open bath. Place it on your back, in 5 cm of water, without a deckchair or swim ring. The child is thus free to play with his feet (they quickly learn to splash!), His hands, to discover the sensation of water moving at the same time as him. Of course, be extremely vigilant, an accident can happen very quickly. And it is better to install a non-slip mat, which will prevent baby from slipping.