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Physical Factors that Influence Child Development

author image Kristie Jernigan
Kristie Jernigan is a health writer with over 17 years of experience as a medical social worker. She has worked mainly with the elderly population and with children. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and early childhood from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in health care administration and gerontology from the University of Phoenix.
Physical Factors that Influence Child Development
Child working on gross motor skills. Photo Credit child playing image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com


Every child develops at a different rate, according to Illinois Early Learning. Some children can do certain physical tasks before their peers can, but this can be normal. However, there are physical factors that can influence how your child develops. Seek advice from your physician if your child struggles and is not meeting her developmental milestones.

Gross Motor Development

Gross motor development is the child’s ability to move about and use the various parts of her body to achieve physical tasks, according to Whole Family. Crawling is normally accomplished by 8 to 12 months and walking and running by 18 months, according to the Illinois Early Learning Project. If your child is having difficulty with any of these physical tasks, it could affect how she develops. Whole Family says that a child who is physically unable to play, run and jump will lose tone in her muscles, which will cause her to become weak. As a result, she will be less able to do things that other children her age have no difficulty doing.

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Fine Motor Development

Whole Family says that fine motor development is a term used to describe more finite movements your child does with her hands. However, Whole Family also reports that fine motor skills are hard to ascertain in children under 2 years of age. Holding a pair of scissors and cutting paper is an example of a fine motor skill that your 3 year old should be able to do, suggests Whole Family. Without fine motor skills, your child is unable to use her hands and perform tasks, and this can influence how she develops. A child with fine motor difficulty may fall behind other children her age and may be unable to keep up in school. She may need special assistance to complete tasks that other children can do with ease, such as using a spoon and fork properly, copying a circle or drawing a person with a head, which more 3-year-olds can do.

Vision Problems and Eye-Hand Coordination

A child who suffers from vision problems may have difficulty developing properly. She may have difficulty running and playing with her friends. She may have difficulty eating, putting her clothes on or tying her shoes. If a child cannot see properly, she is not going to have good eye-hand coordination. Whole Family says that a lack of eye-hand coordination will make her unable to physically coordinate the task that her eyes see before her. This can make her fall behind her classmates, and mental development may be affected.

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