What is normal motor development?

lineup of baby to toddler

Gross Motor Skills are the larger movements that children make using the arms, legs or entire body. For example; rolling, crawling, walking and jumping.

Developmental milestones

Many children will progress easily through their developmental milestones and learn to roll, sit, crawl and walk themselves. For some children this can be more difficult. This may be due to a number of reasons including; lack of practice, difficulties with the planning of movement, difficulty using both sides of the body together (bilateral integration) or reduced balance or core stability.

Your physiotherapist will be able to offer guidance and support to assist the child through their developmental pathway. However, it is important to remember that every child will develop differently and at their own rate. Below we outline typical developmental milestones. However some children may not follow this pattern and it is important to speak to your physiotherapist about any specific concerns. A child’s development is constantly changing and not all children follow the same pathway The information below should be used for guidance only.

For more information on how to help your child develop these skills, please click on the sections which are highlighted blue. 

Developmental milestone Usual age achieved
Head control At about 3 months a child will start to develop head control when supported in a sitting position. When pulling to sit, there is little or no head lag.
Tummy time

3 months: Props up on forearms, can lift head

6 months: Props up on extended arms


Front to back- 5-6 months

Back to front- 6-7 months

Independent sitting without support

5-9 months


Crawling 7-11 months
Pull to stand from sitting 7-12    Months

Cruising sideways: 9-16 months

Walking independently: 9½-17½ months

Note: Infants who ‘bottom shuffle’ are usually delayed in walking and learn to walk at about 17-28 months.

Running Starts to learn to run at around 18 months, runs safely around 24 months
Walking upstairs

13-22 months: Can walk upstairs with hands held.

24 months: Can walk up and downstairs holding onto a rail 2 feet per step.

Jumping Jumps in place around 17-30 months.
Ball skills At 2 years, a child can throw a small ball forwards without falling over. Will walk into a large ball trying to kick it.

For more ideas and activities to encourage your childs development, please click here

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