gross motor development

Gross Motor Development & Skills for Infants, Toddlers, and Children

Are My Baby’s Gross Motor Skills Typical?

What are gross motor skills? These skills include the way a person uses his arms, legs, or whole body to make movements. As your baby grows into a child, it’s the development of these muscles that will enable her to hold her head up, sit, crawl and eventually walk, run, jump and skip. If your neighbor’s nine month old is already walking and your nine-month-old baby is content to crawl, don’t become alarmed. Babies develop at their own pace, so use this only as a guideline of what to expect. Below in each age range, there are ideas to help promote typical motor development. There are also ‘red flags’ listed and parenting tips on what activities you can do.

Gross Motor Development by Age Group

Gross motor skills involve the larger, stronger muscle groups. In early child development, it’s the development of these muscles that enable her to hold her head up, sit, crawl and eventually walk, run, jump and skip.

0 – 3 Months

For an infant under three months, gently flex your baby’s legs in a bicycle movement while she is on her back. Read more!

3 – 6 Months

When your baby is between three and six months, place your infant on her belly and help her reach a rattle out in front. Read more!

6 – 9 Months

From six to nine months, your infant is turning into a little explorer. Once his or her legs are strong, he or she might enjoy standing, so put some toys on the sofa or a low table, to encourage reaching for them. Read more!

9 – 12 Months

When your baby is between nine and twelve months old, open a large box at both ends and encourage him or her to crawl through the new tunnel. Read more!

12 – 24 Months

When your baby is steady on his feet, pushing a stroller can be more fun than riding in one. Let him push the stroller in a safe spot. Your child will feel so strong and powerful pushing it all by himself. Read more!

24 – 36 Months

Visit playgrounds often. When children see the slides and climbing structures, they naturally want to run, swing, and climb everything in sight. If you can’t make it to the playground, chasing each other in the backyard or taking a walk can help your child’s little muscles grow strong. Read more!

36 – 48 Months

Make a parade. Show your child how to march like a member of the band with his knees up high. If you have a drum or flag, that’s great. Then get a friend, or even the dog, to join you as you march around the house. Read more!

48 – 60 Months

At five years old, most children can complete the following gross motor skills: Read more!