motor dev timeline

Know Your Baby’s Developmental Timeline

Many parents and caregivers are aware of a child’s developmental timeline when they are infants: rolling at 6 months, sitting at 8 months, walking at 12 months, etc. However, many do not know what the appropriate developmental milestones are beyond one year of age. A pediatric physical therapist can help to determine if your child has delays that need to be addressed by additional treatment, or can simply be tasks practiced at home. Below is a timeline of the basic developmental skills acquired from 1 year up to 6 years of age to help you better determine how your child is doing with his or her developmental skills.

Gross Motor Developmental Timeline:

12-14 Months:
•    Walking and standing on own
•    Creeping up stairs
•    Ball skills, like throwing, begin to emerge

15-18 Months:
•    Walking well and trying to run
•    Walking backwards a few steps
•    Trying to kick a ball

19-24 Months:
•    Run well
•    Starting to jump;
•    Throw a ball over- and underhand

25-30 Months:
•    Walking down stairs without a rail and upstairs alternating their feet on each step;
•    Jump down off the bottom step height or greater;
•    Trying to catch a ball

31-36 Months:
•    Jumping forward and down 20 inches or more keeping both feet together
•    Jumping over 2-inch obstacles;
•    Balancing on one leg for 3 seconds
•    Riding a tricycle

37-48 Months:
•    Running, jumping, and balancing continue to improve
•    Standing on one foot for 10 seconds or more
•    Jumping forward 30 inches
•    Hopping on 1 foot
•    Throwing, catching, and kicking with improved form and accuracy
•    Alternating feet up and down stairs and does not need a rail

49-60 Months:
•    Galloping, skipping, and summersaults start to develop and progress
•    Able to transition from the floor to sitting by performing a sit-up
•    Start riding a bike with training wheels and jumping rope

61-72 Months:
•    Most skills are simply continuing to advance
•    Jumping farther, hopping forward, backwards, and sideways
•    Strong enough to perform multiple sit-ups or push-ups
•    Good balance when running and walking
•    Jumping jacks and walking across a balance beam well

With development, there is not an exact time at which a skill is reached; it is often a range of several months. For example, if your child is not jumping at 24 months, try to work on it first at home. If, at 24 months, your child is not jumping, running, or walking up and down the stairs- consider a referral to physical therapy.

It is also important to make sure that your child is performing movements and activities symmetrically and with good posture. Here are a few things to look for:
•    When rolling, make sure that he or she is able to roll both right and left and is not just rolling one way
•    Be aware that preference for right or left hand should not be occurring until 3 years or older, take note if you notice that your baby or child is only using one hand for tasks.
•    When walking, your child is always on his or her toes and has trouble continuously walking with heels down.

If your child exhibits behaviors such as these, a referral to a physical therapist could be necessary.  If you would like to see a physical therapist, contact your child’s pediatrician for a referral.

Amy Fanning, PT, DPT
Amy Fanning is a physical therapist at NCH working at Main Campus in the Outpatient Therapy Department. She received her undergraduate degree from Miami University and her doctorate in physical therapy from Washington University in St. Louis. She began working at NCH in February, 2013. She is a Columbus native (Go Bucks!), and she enjoys going to sporting events and loves being active and outdoors in her spare time.

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