Stages of Motor Skills Development in Infants

Table of Contents

How would you know if the motor development of your baby is normal? Will you just wait for other people to tell you or perhaps let your pediatrician do the checking  for you? Isn’t it better if you, on your own, can easily monitor the skills development of your kid?

By the way, the chart below is not exclusive for infants only but for kids ages 0-8 years of age.

First, let’s define what is motor skills development, so we know we’re talking the same subject.

What is motor development?

Growth and movement are two of the most notable features of young children and basic motor skills develop in the early childhood years and lays the foundation for movement and motor proficiency and if they are not developed during their early years, these motor skills will often remain unlearned.

Motor development is a sequential stages of change in motor behavior based on the interaction of the following:

  • maturation
  • prior experiences
  • new motor activities

The following chart shows the sequential order of motor development during the early years. The ages shown are averages and it is normal for these to vary by a month or two in either direction.

Age Development
2 months able to lift head up on his own
3 months can roll over
4 months can sit propped up without falling over
6 months is able to sit up without support
7 months begins to stand while holding on to things for support
9 months can begin to walk and still using support
10 months is able to momentarily stand on her own without support
11 months can stand alone with more confidence
12 months begin walking alone without support
14 months can walk backward without support
17 months can walk up steps with little or no support
18-24 months able to manipulate objects with feet while walking such as kicking a ball
3 years can walk up/downstairs independently and running
3-5 years jumping on two feet and hopping on one foot
4 years walk up/downstairs with continuous movement
5 years and up running much faster
5-6 years skipping
5-8 years roller-skating/bicycling

Mind Power Series

Motor development follows a directional pattern as large muscles develop before the smaller muscles which explains why most preschoolers are more apt at running than using scissors for cutting.

Parents can better foster children’s motor development when they understand their temperament and know what skills are suitable for their age. Temperament plays an important role in motivating and stimulating interest in children to learn and practice motor skills. Some children are “motor driven” and want to try everything while others are “motor cautious” and need time to watch others before trying things themselves.

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  1. Due to the immaturity of the human nervous system at the time of birth, children grow continually throughout their childhood years. Many factors contribute to the ability and the rate that children develop their motor skills. Uncontrollable factors include: genetic or inherited traits and children with learning disorders. A child born to short and overweight parents is much less likely to be an athlete than a child born to two athletically built parents. Controllable factors include: the environment/society and culture they are born to. A child born in the city is much less likely to have the same opportunities to explore, hike, or trek the outdoors than one born in the rural area. For a child to successfully develop motor skills, he or she must receive many opportunities to physically explore the surroundings.

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