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
Walking and standing on own
Creeping up stairs
Ball skills, like throwing, begin to emerge
Walking well and trying to run
Walking backwards a few steps
Trying to kick a ball
Starting to jump;
Throw a ball over- and underhand
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
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
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
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
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, PCS is a physical therapist at Nationwide Children's Hospital working in the outpatient therapy. She received her undergraduate degree from Miami University and her doctorate in physical therapy from Washington University in St. Louis.
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