Scroll to continue reading
The Milestones of a Baby's Motor Skills Development

The Milestones of a Baby's Motor Skills Development

Motor skills development is an essential aspect of a baby’s growth. This article will cover the typical milestones you can expect as your baby matures. While each child’s growth is unique, there are common markers that parents can watch for.

Discover the essential milestones in a baby’s motor skills development from birth through their first year. Understand the difference between fine and gross motor skills, and learn how to support your baby’s growth journey.

Motor skills involve the movement and coordination of muscles and the body. These are classified into two categories: fine motor skills, which involve small movements, and gross motor skills, which involve larger movements. Throughout a baby’s first year and beyond, they typically hit several developmental milestones that demonstrate growth in these areas.

Note: These milestones are simply guidelines. It’s perfectly normal for some children to achieve them earlier or later than average. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, you should consult a healthcare professional.

Birth to 3 Months

In the early stages of life, babies are developing the foundation of their motor skills.

Gross Motor Skills:

  • Lifts head during tummy time.
  • Can start to roll over from tummy to back.
  • Kicks legs when lying on the stomach or back.

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Starts to open and close hands.
  • Moves hands toward the face.
  • Can hold a toy if you place it in their hand.

4 to 6 Months

During these months, babies start becoming more active and interactive with their environment.

Gross Motor Skills:

  • Rolls over in both directions.
  • Can sit with support and may start sitting without support.
  • Starts to bounce when in a standing position with support.

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Reaches for objects and picks them up.
  • Begins to transfer toys from one hand to the other.
  • Shows more control when holding things, like a rattle or spoon.

7 to 9 Months

By this time, babies are more aware of their surroundings and are starting to move around independently.

Gross Motor Skills:

  • Starts to crawl.
  • Can sit without support.
  • Pulls to standing position and may begin to stand without support.

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Can pick up small objects using thumb and forefinger (pincer grasp).
  • Passes toys from one hand to the other easily.
  • Can bang two objects together.

10 to 12 Months

During this period, babies are starting to perfect the skills they’ve been developing and begin to explore even more.

Gross Motor Skills:

  • Starts to walk, either by cruising (holding onto furniture) or independently.
  • May start to climb stairs with support.
  • Can sit down from a standing position.

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Can stack blocks or toys.
  • Feeds self finger foods.
  • Can place objects into a container and take them out.

Beyond the First Year

After the first year, children continue to enhance their motor skills and become increasingly independent. Typical milestones include running, jumping, kicking a ball, drawing, and starting to dress themselves.

Pro-tip: Encouraging your child to engage in different physical activities can help them develop their motor skills. Provide a safe environment for them to explore and interact with. This includes, for example, child-safe toys, space to crawl and walk, and time for unstructured play.

The development of motor skills is a critical part of a child’s first years of life. Parents can foster this development through stimulation, providing a safe environment, and encouraging exploration. If there are any concerns about your child’s progress, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional, such as a pediatrician or physical therapist.

Q: What are motor skills in infants?

A: Motor skills refer to an infant’s ability to move and control their muscles and bodies. This includes large movements, called gross motor skills, and small, more precise movements, called fine motor skills.

Q: When do babies typically start to crawl?

A: Babies typically start to crawl between 7 to 9 months of age. This can vary, as some babies may start a bit earlier or later.

Q: What is the pincer grasp, and when does it develop?

A: The pincer grasp is a developmental milestone where babies learn to pick up small objects using their thumb and forefinger. This usually happens between 7 to 9 months.

Q: How can I help my baby develop motor skills?

A: Parents can support their baby’s motor development by providing plenty of opportunities for safe, supervised physical activity. This includes tummy time, play with toys, and allowing time for unstructured play and exploration.

Q: What if my baby is not hitting motor skills milestones?

A: While there are common guidelines, every child develops at their own pace. However, if you are concerned about your child’s motor skills development, you should consult a healthcare professional or a pediatrician.

Q: What is the difference between fine and gross motor skills?

A: Fine motor skills involve small movements, typically using the hands and fingers, along with the eyes for tasks like eating, drawing, or buttoning clothes. Gross motor skills involve larger movements of the arms, legs, feet, or the entire body for activities like crawling, walking, and jumping.

Q: When do babies usually start walking independently?

A: Most babies take their first steps between 10 and 12 months and are walking well by the time they’re 14 or 15 months old. However, there’s a wide range of what’s considered normal – some babies walk before 9 months, and others don’t walk until 18 months.

Post a Comment