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Gross Motor Skill Development By Age

Children typically acquire certain motor skills by particular ages. The lists below outline these skills and timelines.

0-3 Months

Milestones 

  • Tummy
    • Can lift head off the surface 90 degrees from the surface
    • Can place weight through forearms
    • May begin rolling from tummy to back
  • Back
    • Kicks legs off of the surface
    • Brings hands to the middle
  • Sitting 
    • Will still need full support to sit and head will bob occasionally
  • Standing 
    • N/A

Concerning Signs 

  • Child can not lift their head off the surface
  • Arches or pushes back with head
  • Stiff legs that do not move or move very little off the surface
  • Fisted hands with little to no arm movement away from the surface

3-6 Months

Milestones 

  • Tummy
    • Will play up on extended arms
    • Can turn or pivot on their belly in both directions
    • Will shift their weight onto one hand to reach for a toy
  • Back 
    • Rolls from back to tummy
  • Sitting 
    • Will sit independently when placed
  • Standing
    • Will stand with support, takes full weight through legs
    • Will begin to bounce in place with support 

Concerning Signs 

  • Not able to lift or hold head up in the middle. Poor head control
  • Arches back and stiffens legs
  • Rounded back in supported sitting
  • Stiff legs in supported standing
  • Pull to sit with head lag and no attempt to reach out to caregiver

6-9 Months

Milestones

  • Tummy 
    • Gets into hand and knees position
    • Moves from sitting to belly
    • Will crawl backward and/or creep on hands and knees
  • Back 
    • N/A
  • Sitting 
    • Sits independently and reaches for toys without falling
    • Will start to turn while sitting
  • Standing 
    • Will stand along a supportive surface
    • Will pull to stand against a supportive surface
    • May start walking (cruising) along furniture

Concerning Signs 

  • Rounded back still present in sitting
  • Poor use of arms or only uses one hand
  • Difficulty crawling or does not perform
  • Will only use one side of their body
  • Won't take weight through legs in supported standing

9-12 Months

Milestones

  • Tummy
    • Creeps reciprocally on hands and knees
  • Back 
    • N/A
  • Sitting 
    • N/A
  • Standing 
    • Stand without support briefly
    • May start to take a few steps independently
    • Pulls to stand using half kneel position

Concerning Signs

  • Will pull to stand using arms only
  • Can't stand because of stiff legs or pointed toes
  • Arms very bent or very straight
  • Still needs to use a hand for support of to maintain sitting

12-15 Months

Milestones

  • Tummy 
    • N/A
  • Back 
    • N/A
  • Sitting 
    • N/A
  • Standing 
    • Walks independently with fewer falls and increased speed
    • Squats without support to pick up a toy
    • Will walk up and down stairs with hands held, places both feet on each step

Concerning Signs

  • Can't take independent steps
  • Stands with poor balance
  • Falls frequently
  • Walks on toes or with legs very stiff or straight (does not bend their knees)