Physical development is a process that gradually develops allowing children to gain control of the use of their muscles. This allows their gross motor and fine motor skills to develop. It also refers to changes in the body and bone, size and weight. The first two years of a child’s life is extremely important as that is when the child grows rapidly. You will notice the physical changes in your child because they will start to gain new abilities. An example is that once children have full control of their arm muscles, it will allow them to be able to develop and control the muscles in their fingers which will able them to be able to pick up a pencil and be able to scribble. Another example will be that once a child has complete control over their leg muscles they will be able to kick a football. During the time that a child starts to gain control, it also starts to gain self-confidence as they are able to play and achieve things on their own, for example threading beads on to a piece of string. Each child starts the physical development stage at difference times, for example not every child will start walking by the age of two as it all depends on the strength of the muscles in the child’s legs and back and the maturation of the nervous system.
As soon as infants are born they have certain reflexes, these are physical, automatic responses that baby’s cannot control, these reflexes are triggered by a stimulus or a determined impulse in the nerves. The reflexes that infants are born with include rooting, sucking, grasping, startle and walking. Some reflexes stay with the infant throughout their life such as blinking, where as other will disappear after a few weeks or months. When infants have natural reflexes straight after birth it is an indication that the baby’s brain and nerve system have developed correctly during its time in the womb. Therefore, if infants don’t have the certain reflexes they should do, that could cause suspicion of a brain damage.
Rooting is one of the reflexes that is needed for survival. The rooting reflex causes infants to rotate their head a certain way due to a stimulus. Infants will also turn they head if for example, someone strokes their cheek, they automatic response will be to turn their head towards the direction there face was stroked from. This helps the baby to survive as it helps them to be able to find the nipple. Sucking is the second survival reflex as a baby’s natural instinct is to start to suck whenever something is placed near their mouth such as a toy or the mothers nipple. For example, if you placed your finger into a baby’s mouth they would automatically begin to suck and they will not stop until you pull your finger away as they have no control over their mouth muscles, which means they cannot grasp your finger. The sucking reflex will begin to disappear about a month after the baby was born.
Another reflex is the palmer grasp. This reflex takes place when the palm of a baby’s hand is touched, for example if you placed your finger in the palm of an infants hand, it will automatically grasp its hand around your finger, but that grasp is not strong enough to hold your finger in as the baby‘s hand muscles have not yet been strengthened, therefore you can still remove your finger from the infant’s hand. This reflex will disappear after three months of being born.
The Moro reflex also know as the startle reflex is a baby’s response to hearing a loud noise or seeing a bright light or sudden movement. When infant’s become startled they will through their legs and arms behind them and arch their back, the infant will then start to cry and cling on to the main care giver as if they are afraid they might fall. For example, if a baby was just laying in its cot and you suddenly picked them up, that will cause the moro reflex as they may be in shock that they have just been moved without knowing.
Infant’s are born with a natural