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Baby Motor Development in 11 Milestones

Written by: Isabelle Lessard

April 12, 2019

Babies’ motor development is a fascinating thing to witness, especially for new parents. It’s a complex process where progress becomes noticeable around 4 months, when baby’s movements become intentional. Here’s a series of motor development milestones that mark every child’s journey to controlling their movements! The point here isn’t to provide a formal evaluation tool; that’s your pediatrician’s job. The goal is rather to establish the sequence of a child’s development stages and the average age children generally acquire certain skills.  

Rolling from back to tummy

This usually happens unintentionally at first (always keep an eye on me mom and dad!) and becomes deliberate later on. Around 50% of children acquire this skill after 3 months old, and 90% master it at around 5 and a half months.

Sitting up without help

90% of babies become great at sitting up when they turn 7 months old, but about 50% are already pretty good at 6 months. At first, babies need the help of an adult to get in the right position, but about 2 months later, they’re able to sit on their own.

Standing up with support

Here’s an event that never fails to generate “wows!” and “you did it!” By 7 months old, around 50% of babies are able to sand with support, and 90% of them are experts at it by 8 and a half months.

Crawling

Being on the move has a major impact on a baby’s other areas of development (cognitive, social-emotional) because this milestone means the ability to explore! Also, babies start to have a better sense of distance and depth. 50% of kids start crawling at about 7 and a half months and 90% do it with confidence at about 9 months old.

Holding object with thumb and forefinger

This is called the “pincer grasp.” Before this aptitude appears, the baby’s reflex is to grab, then to hold and release intentionally with the whole hand. About 50% of children are able to do the “pincer grasp” at 8 months old, and 90% master it at 10 months old.

Standing up without support

Look, no hands! Now that’s exciting! 90% of kids can stand up easily before turning 14 months old, but about 50% already start to get the hang of it at around 11 and a half months.   

Walking with confidence

What an amazing new power to be able to get close to dad or mom at will… or get away from an unpleasant place! About 50% of toddlers walk relatively well after their first birthday, although a little less confident at first, and 90% get the knack of it closer to 15 months old.

Building a two-story tower

Baby will start by demolishing the tower and throwing the blocks everywhere before mastering stacking! About 50% of children do this by 15 months old, and 90% have perfected this skill at 21 months.

Walking up the stairs

Now here’s a tricky exercise in balance and coordination! About 50% of children can do it at 16 and a half months and 90% are experts at it by 21 months. Going down the stairs, however, will take a little bit more practise!

Jumping up and down

So much fun! Jumping is an ability some children will use to entertain their younger siblings. Approximately 50% start jumping when they’re about to turn 2, and 90% do it at 2 and a half years old.

Drawing a circle

This might spark an interest for arts or uncover a great talent!  About 50% of kids can draw a circle at 3 and a half years old and 90% of them do it easily at 4 years old.

 

Source: Data adapted from Frankenburg et al., 1992.

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