Have you ever wondered if your child is “on track” for hitting developmental milestones such as running, jumping, and skipping? Although every child is different, there is a general timeline for typical development across childhood. This is Part 2 to a previous blog post about typical gross motor development in infancy.
Expected Skills and Activities:
12 – 18 months: increased balance with walking, creeping up stairs on hands and knees, squatting to the floor to pick up an object without loss of balance
18 – 24 months: walking backwards or sideways, creeping backwards down stairs on hands and knees, walking up stairs while holding a handrail, throwing and kicking a medium sized ball with poor aim
2 – 3 years: walking up and down stairs while holding a handrail, catching a medium sized ball if prepared, riding tricycle, jumping with 2 feet in one place
3 – 4 years: running, walking up stairs with one foot on each step (alternating pattern), jump down from a surface with 2 feet, hop on 1 foot, kicking and throwing with improved aim
4 – 5 years: walking up and down stairs with one foot on each step (alternating pattern), galloping with 1 leg leading, standing on tip toes without taking a step, walking on a balance beam, being able to change directions and stop quickly while running
5 – 6 years: riding a bicycle (begin with training wheels), skipping with alternating feet, performing a controlled somersault, throwing longer distances with accuracy
6 – 7 years: performing advanced sports skills such as dancing, gymnastics, or soccer
Again, it should be remembered that this is a generalized timeline for development. Every child is different and learns new skills at different rates. This timeline should simply help parents to know what to expect and whether they should be concerned about their child’s gross motor skills. If you have any concerns about your child with regards to gross motor skills, please contact your pediatrician and request an evaluation by a physical therapist to determine whether your child may need some help to reach these motor milestones.
Additionally, it is important to note that most children do not gain safety awareness with gross motor skills until 8-9 years of age. The development of these skills should be closely monitored in order to prevent injury.