Watching your little one take their first uncertain steps, you can’t help but marvel at the incredible journey of gross motor skills development. From mastering basic reflexes to conquering complex physical tasks, every milestone brings a sense of wonder and pride. This blog walks you through the development stages of motor skills in little ones.
What are Gross Motor Skills?
Motor skills are essential for your little one’s physical development. They involve controlling and coordinating the body’s large muscles, like crawling, walking, and jumping. By offering opportunities for them to explore and engage in activities that promote these skills, such as tummy time, playing with balls, and encouraging active play, you’re helping them gain strength, balance, and coordination.
Development Stages of Gross Motor Skills in Newborns
Remember that children develop skills at their own pace, so the age guidelines are only estimates. Motor skills typically develop in stages, each building upon the previous one. Understanding the developmental timeline, from reflexive movements to the acquisition of purposeful actions, is vital to fully comprehending a child’s growth stages.
Age: 0 – 4 Months
In the first few months of life, little ones gain the ability to lift their heads and maintain balance while lying on their stomachs during what is known as Tummy time.
Age: 6 Months
By this age, the baby learns to roll over effortlessly, mastering both directions from front to back and back to front.
Age: 7 Months
Your baby reaches a significant milestone by sitting up independently without any support.
Age: 8 – 9 Months
Your baby starts crawling and studying everything around them. The baby creeps on hands and knees, seamlessly transitioning between sitting, on all fours, and lying on their tummy.
Age: 12 Months
The baby confidently pulls themselves to stand, progresses to walking while holding onto furniture, and eventually takes their first confident 2-3 steps independently without any support.
Age: 18 Months
The child effortlessly transitions between sitting, crawling, and walking, gradually improving their gait and coordination while walking and running, and demonstrates the ability to push against a ball without yet being able to kick it.
Age: 2 Years
Your little one acquires new skills such as running, jumping, and throwing a ball while effortlessly pulling or carrying a toy while walking and fearlessly climbing onto or down from furniture without assistance.
Age: 3 Years
The child imitates one-footed standing, replicates bilateral limb movements, climbs jungle gyms and ladders, pedals a tricycle, navigates stairs alternating feet, jumps in place, walks on tiptoes, and catches using their body.
Age: 4 Years
The child accomplishes a range of physical skills, such as standing on one foot, kicking and throwing a ball, catching a bounced ball, running around obstacles, walking on a line, and jumping over objects with a clean landing.
Age: 5 Years
The child demonstrates advanced abilities such as walking upstairs while holding an object, skipping forwards, hanging from a bar for 5 seconds, stepping forward with the throwing arm side when throwing a ball, and catching a small ball with their hands.
7 Strategies for Supporting Gross Motor Skills at Home
- Encourage active play: Provide enough opportunities for your child to engage in physical activities such as running, jumping, climbing, and playing with balls. Set up obstacle courses or create a safe space for them to explore and move their bodies.
- Outdoor playtime: Encourage outdoor play to allow your child to experience a broader range of movements. Take them to the park or backyard, where they can run, ride a bike, or play on swings and slides.
- Provide gross motor toys and equipment: Offer toys that promote motor skills development, such as tricycles, balance bikes, tunnels, jump ropes, and balls. These encourage coordination, balance, and strength.
- Participate in physical activities together: Engage as a family, such as going for walks, playing tag, or dancing. This supports your child’s motor skills, fosters bonding, and creates positive associations with physical activity.
- Incorporate movement into daily routines: Find opportunities for movement throughout the day. Encourage your child to help with tasks that involve physical activity, such as carrying groceries, helping with household chores, or doing simple exercises together.
- Provide a safe and stimulating environment: Ensure your home environment allows your child to move and explore freely. Remove hazards, secure furniture, and provide adequate space for them to move around without restrictions.
- Seek professional guidance if needed: If you have concerns about your child’s motor skills development, consider consulting with a paediatrician, occupational therapist, or physical therapist who can provide guidance and customized strategies for your child’s specific needs.
To Sum It Up:
Understanding the gross motor skills development timeline is crucial for parents. From rolling over to running and jumping, each milestone represents a significant step. Parents can support their child’s development by providing a nurturing environment, engaging in physical activities together, and offering age-appropriate toys. Remember, every child grows at their self-paced. Embrace the journey, celebrate milestones, and help your child build a foundation for physical abilities, coordination, and confidence.