“Traditionally reflexes have been understood to occur at the brainstem level, automatically keeping the infant alive” (Whitmmer & Peterson, 2008). The YouTube video called Childhood Motor Skills shows how reflexes help the survival of the infant. The video showcases the need for young children to react to dangers such as falling, the need for food, and the reinforcement of growth through interaction with the environment to ensure strength and survival. Reflexes innately allow for children to ensure they protect themselves during this stage of immense change.
The connection between movement and cognitive development can be observed in the YouTube video. In order to survive, the infant reacts to physical contact as the parent or guardian strokes his/her cheek and the child turns his/her head towards the nipple. “The rooting reflex and the sucking reflex help the newborn find the nipple and begin to eat” (Wittmer & Peterson, 2008). Food as the immediate mode of survival is also important in the tongue-thrust reflex. “Newborns also have a reflex that protects them from swallowing anything other than liquids” (Whittmer & Peterson, 2018).
The reflexes for survival can be also observed in the Childhood Motor Skills video as the caregiver gently throws the child to exhibit the Moro reflex which allows the child to open her arms and arch backward as almost to prevent the fall, while after gathering her body together towards her stomach. As shown by Whitmer & Peterson (2018) “Postural reflexes help the infant resist gravity and provide the basis for developing balance, posture, and voluntary movement.” These skills develop the pre-locomotive and later locomotive reflexes to allow children to move, climb, walk, run and protect themselves from the environment. Infants use their reflexes for survival as they explore the world around them.
Wittmer, D. S., & Petersen, S. H. (2018). Infant and toddler development and responsive program planning: A relationship-based approach. NY, NY: Pearson.
Florida State University. (n.d.). Baby and Toddler Milestones: 16 Gestures by 16 Months. Reading Rockets.Org. Retrieved August 2, 2021, from https://www.readingrockets.org/article/baby-and-toddler-milestones-16-gestures-16-months
GRCCtv. (2012, February 12). Childhood Motor Skills Full Version HQ [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BZe8s5bIqw&t=6s