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Early Motor Milestones: What to Expect in Your Child 6-12 Months

May 19, 2016

The other day we discussed early motor milestones for babies from birth to six months. Here are some guidelines for what to look for in your older baby.

Six months: By six months, your baby should be able to sit up for brief periods of time without support from you. Babies at this age will also play by grabbing, banging, mouthing and shaking objects of interest.

Seven months: During this month, your baby will be “busy” now that she has started exploring. Babies will roll from their back to their belly very easily. She will rarely spend time on her back; this makes diaper changing difficult. While on her belly, she will pivot around in circles to retrieve toys and will start to pull herself around on her belly to explore. She may even attempt to rise on to hands and knees and rock while in quadruped. During this time, babies can sit by themselves briefly without support; however, their balance is not perfect and the babies will typically fall to the side or backwards.

Eight months: By this age, babies become inquisitive about their environment and want to explore. Your baby will crawl around on her hands and knees and transition herself up to sitting without help from you. Your baby will be able to support herself while sitting with different leg positions and playing with toys without falling. She will now like to play with smaller objects and her hands are able to pick up small objects and move them around her hands without dropping them. Be mindful of objects on the floor.

Nine months: The ninth month is fun! Your baby continues to crawl to move from one place to another; she is now able to pull herself to stand at furniture and even take some sideways steps while holding onto furniture. Your baby may even pull herself on top of furniture. As a warning, she will likely pull herself to stand but will be unsure of how to sit back down — you may need to help her. During this time, your baby should be able to take some steps forward when you support her hands.

Ten and Eleven months: You should have one very active baby. She will enjoy toys that she can put objects in and out of and she may even be gesturing to you. In standing she should be able to hold things in her hands causing her to “accidentally” let go of her support and will be able to easily lower herself to sitting from standing. She will also enjoy interacting with you and playing games such as peek-a-boo.

Twelve months: Your baby has become very independent. Her movements have improved and she can get around safely. She should be practicing her ability to rise to standing without support and possibly taking a few steps unsupported. You may even find that she has climbed into your laundry basket and you may not be sure of how that happened. This shows how mobile your little person has become.

The big take away from this is not that your baby should be doing all of these motor skills on a specific timeline, but that your baby is moving. As mentioned in the previous post, if you feel that your baby seems to be “stuck” and does not like to move her own body or if she enjoys staying in one spot, talk with your pediatrician about the possibility of getting a referral for physical therapy to assess your baby’s gross motor skills.

Featured Expert

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Ilene Crabtree, PT
Physical Therapy

Ilene Crabtree, PT has attended numerous Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT) courses since 2007 to increase her knowledge of the neurological system and its' effect on gross motor development. In November of 2010 she became NDT certified.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.