The following excerpt, taken from Dr.Harald Blomberg's Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT) for Preschool and Kindergarten, underlines the importance of allowing children to develop at their own pace:
"Parents naturally want to help their children to develop their motor ability, but rarely understand what babies need for their motor development. Instead of letting them develop their motor abilities on their own and at their own pace, (i.e. rising from lying position to crawling and finally standing up) most parents try to hurry up their motor development. Instead of letting infants lie on the floor and develop their postural reflexes, ( i.e. moving about by themselves) parents put them into baby seats, car seats or even strollers long before they are able even to sit on their own. Instead of encouraging them to develop by moving as much as possible on their own and at their own pace, ( i.e. on the floor) parents put them into baby walkers long before they are ready to crawl or walk. This will restrict natural motor development and obstruct the basal ganglia and primitive reflex integration. If parents want to help their children to develop proper motor ability, they must begin from the level of development of their babies. A baby that cannot sit is better off lying. An infant must be allowed to lie on his stomach in order to be stimulated to lift its head. The infant must be encouraged to move around freely on the floor, to gradually develop its movement patterns, master gravity, balance and stability and integrate its primitive reflexes. Allowing the baby to spend a lot of time in baby swings and baby walkers will ultimately inhibit its motor development. Further, the child runs a greater risk in developing ADHD or ADD, learning difficulties and emotional problems.
Restricting the baby's freedom of movement is especially harmful if the baby is left alone with deficient contact with parents or caregivers. The baby needs to by touched and rocked in order to get inspiration to move spontaneously and access its inborn program for motor development. If the baby is under-stimulated and depressed, which is common in orphanages and institutions, the child's basal ganglia will not be integrated."
This is a truly wonderful and greatly needed resource for new parents. As a Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrician for the past 30 years, I know how crucial early movement is for creating the structures of the brain that allow for the higher capacities of learning and imaginative thinking The development of tactile, vestibular-balance, proprioceptive, and bilateral integration pathways provide the basis for thinking, social awareness, auditory processing, visual processing, and imaginative thinking. Phonetic-based reading and simultaneous inner mental picturing depend on these neurological pathways being fully developed by these joy-filled, rhythmic movements in infancy and early childhood that are beautifully illustrated in this book" Susan R. Johnson, MD, FAAP
Watching this classic DVD of infants who have been allowed to move freely since their earliest months will help you to see the grace, agility and coping skills that infants can acquire on their own if not impeded by restrictive devices such as walkers, swings or bouncers. The DVD also shows how babies learn to roll over, sit, stand and walk naturally if they have not been propped or “helped” before they have matured enough to move in the way they are ready for. Magda Gerber explains how the philosophy of respect applies to infants’ motor development from birth to two years, the stage where infants’ sensory-motor experiences are paramount, and basic to all subsequent development.
Born to Move makes a compelling case for how practices of modern living and current medical policies play a role in the growing epidemic of neurological disorders and developmental delays in many babies and children today. Richly illustrated and exhaustively researched, Kathleen Porter's insights about natural movement, along with an examination of a growing list of health issues from flat heads to motor delays—even autism—raises questions that must be asked about how certain policies, intended to protect babies, have led to widespread fear that undermines our babies' health and, in the end, may be causing more harm than good.