Typical Milestones for a Baby’s Gross Motor Skills

Your baby’s first few years are filled with incredible growth and development, especially when it comes to gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are physical skills that require large muscles in the body to perform movements such as sitting, crawling, walking, and jumping. Understanding these milestones can help you gauge your child’s progress and ensure they are developing healthily.

Discover the typical milestones for a baby’s gross motor skills development from birth to 12 months. Learn how to support your baby’s growth and understand what to expect during their first year.

What Are Gross Motor Skills?

Gross motor skills are essential for everyday tasks such as walking, running, and jumping. They involve the larger muscles of the body and are crucial for body movement and coordination.

“Gross motor skills are the abilities usually acquired during childhood as part of a child’s motor learning. By the time they reach two years of age, almost all children are able to stand up, walk and run, walk up stairs, etc. These skills are built upon, improved and better controlled throughout early childhood, and continue in refinement throughout most of the individual’s years of development into adulthood.” – Wikipedia

Typical Milestones for a Baby’s Gross Motor Skills

Below are some of the general gross motor skill milestones your baby should achieve during their first year of life.

Birth to 3 Months

  • Holds head up for a few moments: With support, your baby should be able to lift their head for a few seconds.
  • Random kicking motion: You will notice your baby making random kicking movements.
  • Movement of hands to mouth: Your baby should start bringing their hands to their mouth.
  • Head turns side to side when on stomach: When placed on their tummy, the baby will turn their head from side to side.

3 to 6 Months

  • Pushes up on arms when lying on stomach: By this time, your baby should be able to push up onto their arms while on their stomach.
  • Begins to roll over: Rolling over from back to tummy or vice versa begins during this period.
  • Holds head steady when upright: Babies can usually keep their heads steady when held upright.

6 to 9 Months

  • Begins to sit without support: At this age, babies start to sit without assistance, showing good head control.
  • Starts to crawl or may start pulling up to stand: Some babies may start crawling or pull themselves up into a standing position.
  • Reaches out to grab objects: Babies will reach out and grasp objects, improving their hand-eye coordination.

9 to 12 Months

  • Starts to stand with support and may take a few steps: Most babies will be able to stand with support, and some may even take their first steps.
  • Begins to clap hands: Clapping hands is a fun development that also shows improved coordination.
  • Can sit up from a prone position: Your baby will be able to move from a lying down position to a sitting position.

It’s important to remember that all children develop at different rates, so there can be wide variability in when children reach these milestones. However, if your child isn’t meeting several of these milestones, it may be worth discussing with their pediatrician.

Supporting Your Baby’s Gross Motor Skill Development

Here are some tips to support your baby’s gross motor skill development:

  • Tummy Time: Spend time each day with your baby on their stomach to encourage them to lift their head and push up on their arms.
  • Encourage Movement: Provide plenty of opportunities for your baby to move, crawl, and explore.
  • Play Games: Play games that encourage your baby to reach, grasp, pull, and push.
  • Provide a Safe Environment: Ensure that your baby’s environment is safe for exploration and free of hazards.

Observing and understanding your baby’s development of gross motor skills can be an exciting part of their growth. Each milestone represents a step towards their independence. It’s important to remember that these milestones are guidelines and not a strict timeline. If you have any concerns about your baby’s motor skill development, always consult with a healthcare professional.

Q1: What are gross motor skills?

A1: Gross motor skills are physical skills that involve large muscles in the body to perform movements such as sitting, crawling, walking, and jumping. They are essential for body movement and coordination.

Q2: What are the typical gross motor skills milestones for a baby from birth to 3 months?

A2: Typical gross motor skill milestones for a baby from birth to 3 months include holding their head up for a few moments, making random kicking motions, moving their hands to their mouth, and turning their head from side to side when on their stomach.

Q3: What milestones should a baby reach between 3 to 6 months?

A3: Between 3 to 6 months, babies should be able to push up on their arms when lying on their stomach, start rolling over, and hold their head steady when upright.

Q4: What motor skills should a baby develop between 6 to 9 months?

A4: From 6 to 9 months, babies typically begin to sit without support, start to crawl or may start pulling up to stand, and reach out to grab objects.

Q5: What are the milestones a baby should reach from 9 to 12 months?

A5: From 9 to 12 months, most babies start to stand with support and may take a few steps, begin to clap their hands, and are able to sit up from a prone position.

Q6: How can I support my baby’s gross motor skill development?

A6: You can support your baby’s gross motor skill development by encouraging tummy time, providing plenty of opportunities for your baby to move, crawl, and explore, playing games that encourage your baby to reach, grasp, pull, and push, and providing a safe environment for your baby to explore.

Q7: What should I do if my baby isn’t meeting several of these milestones?

A7: If your baby isn’t meeting several of these milestones, it’s important to discuss this with their pediatrician. Remember, all children develop at different rates, so there can be wide variability in when children reach these milestones.


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