A baby takes his first steps with the support of the parent

Motor Developmental Milestones

Angelina Chatzaki

All children develop at their own pace and in their own way. There are of course some important motor milestones.

Motor Developmental Milestones

The first five years of life are a period of incredible growth in all areas of a child's development. Motor development, also called physical development, means how young children move their bodies and hands.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new milestone guidelines in March 2022. Here are the updated motor milestones:

2 Months

  • Holds head up when on tummy
  • Moves both arms and both legs
  • Opens hands briefly

4 Months

  • Holds head steady without support when you are holding her
  • Holds a toy when you put it in his hand
  • Uses her arm to swing at toys
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • Pushes up onto elbows/forearms when on tummy

6 Months

  • Rolls from tummy to back
  • Pushes up with straight arms when on tummy
  • Leans on hands to support himself when sitting

9 Months

  • Gets to a sitting position by herself
  • Moves things from one hand to her other hand
  • Uses fingers to “rake” food towards himself
  • Sits without support

1 Year

  • Pulls up to stand
  • Walks, holding on to furniture
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid, as you hold it
  • Picks things up between thumb and pointer finger, like small bits of food

15 Months

  • Takes a few steps on his own
  • Uses fingers to feed herself some food

18 Months

  • Walks without holding on to anyone or anything
  • Scribbles
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid and may spill sometimes
  • Feeds herself with her fingers
  • Tries to use a spoon
  • Climbs on and off a couch or chair without help

2 Years

  • Kicks a ball
  • Runs
  • Walks (not climbs) up a few stairs with or without help
  • Eats with a spoon

30 Months

  • Uses hands to twist things, like turning doorknobs or unscrewing lids
  • Takes some clothes off by himself, like loose pants or an open jacket
  • Jumps off the ground with both feet
  • Turns book pages, one at a time, when you read to her

3 Years

  • Strings items together, like large beads or macaroni
  • Puts on some clothes by himself, like loose pants or a jacket
  • Uses a fork

4 Years

  • Catches a large ball most of the time
  • Serves himself food or pours water, with adult supervision
  • Unbuttons some buttons
  • Holds crayon or pencil between fingers and thumb (not a fist)

5 Years

  • Buttons some buttons
  • Hops on one foot

The milestone of crawling was removed from the newly updated milestones. The reason is that many healthy babies skip the crawling process and move straight to standing and walking.

Although some disagree with the new milestones, the CDC update doesn’t reflect a downgrade in children’s development standards but a change in the strategy of developmental surveillance.

The most important thing is parents and therapists to be aware and well informed of the child's development and be ready to spot possible delays and difficulties.

From the Synopsis app,

Angelina Chatzaki, Occupational Therapist