As a parent, you always want what is best for your child. A piece of that typically includes wanting to ensure that your child develops the right skills at the right time. But how do you know what is “right?” Below are a few timeframes to follow to assess achievement of a few of the most important developmental milestones.
**REMEMBER** All children develop at their own pace, but if your child has not developed a certain skill within the window provided, it may be time to seek out an evaluation with a skilled pediatric physical therapist. There is no such thing as a “lazy baby” and it will be up to the pediatric physical therapist to further assess why your child has not met a certain skill and how best to assist them in achieving their highest potential.
SITTING The first signs of independent sitting, typically occur with a position called prop sitting. This position is when a child is sitting on their bottom with their hands on the surface beside their knees.
- At 5 months, a child should be able to maintain prop sit position for about 8 seconds. Sitting should then gradually improve to a more upright position where it is not necessary to maintain hands on either side.
- At 6 months, a child should be able to sit upright independently for approximately 60 seconds.
- At around 7 months, a child should be able to reach for a toy about 12 inches in front of them and then return to an upright sitting position.
- By 9 months, a child should then be able to maintain upright sitting posture while playing with a toy for 60 seconds or longer.
- Finally, by the time they are 10 months old, a child should then be able to independently transition themselves into a sitting position from lying on their stomach.
- Around 4 months, a child should be rolling from their back to their side in either direction typically following a toy moved over head by their caregiver. As a child becomes stronger, they should be able to roll from their back to their belly (in both directions) by 7 months.
CRAWLING A child should begin moving forward on their stomach using their arms (i.e. army crawling) by around 8 months.
- By 9 months, a child should then be raising onto their hands and knees and rocking back and forth in preparation for crawling.
- By the end of 9 months, a child should then be crawling forward approximately 5 feet on their hands and knees with their opposite arms and legs moving together.
STANDING/CRUISING While using a stable object for support, a child should be able to raise to standing from sitting around 9 months.
- By 10 months a child should be taking steps sideways while holding onto a stable surface to cruise approximately 4 steps in either direction. You may also notice your child bouncing while standing holding your index fingers by bending their knees around 10 months.
- By the end of 10 months, a child should be able to lower themselves from standing to sitting without falling while holding onto a stable object for support.
- Around 11 months, a child should then be able to release support from a stable object and maintain standing position for 5 seconds.
- Finally, around 12 months, a child should be able to achieve standing position from sitting cross-legged on the floor independently.
WALKING Walking typically begins with a child taking alternating steps in place or moving forward slightly while they are being supported by their trunk in a standing position around 10 months. This progresses to taking about 4 alternating steps while holding one hand around 11 months.
- Around 12 months a child should then be able to use alternating steps to walk 8 feet with one hand held.
- By the end of 12 months a child should then be able to walk unaided 5 steps.
- Around 13 months, a child should be able to walk to a toy 2 feet away, squat down to pick it up, return to standing, and then walk about 3 steps without losing their balance.
- By 14 months, a child’s posture while walking should be maturing to a more narrow base of support (feet positioned more squarely under their hips) due to improvements in their stability.
RUNNING Around 17-18 months a child should start walking faster, typically being able to traverse a 10 foot straight path in about half the time of their normal walking speed when cued by their caregiver to “go fast.”
- Around 19-20 months, a child should then be able to run about 10 feet without losing their balance.
STAIR CLIMBING Stair climbing typically begins with crawling up a couple steps on hands and knees around 14 months.
- By 15-16 months, they may then crawl backwards down 2-3 steps on their hands and knees. Around 15-16 months, they should also be progressing to walking up stairs using support from a wall or railing.
- By 17-18 months, they should then be able to walk down 4 steps while holding a hand. Eventually a child should be able to walk up 4 steps without support or assistance around 23-24 months and down stairs without support by 25-26 months.
- Stair climbing typically begins with use of a step to pattern (placing both feet on each step) and then progress to a reciprocal pattern (placing only one foot on each step) as the child becomes more stable and confident.
JUMPING Around 23-24 months, a child should start to experiment with jumping and be able to jump forward about 4 inches maintaining their balance. Around this time, they should also be jumping vertically about 2 inches and jumping down from a step (no higher than 7 inches) independently.
- By 31-32 months a child should then be able to jump forward approximately 24 inches with both feet leaving the ground and landing at the same time.
- Around 33-34 months, a child should then be able to jump over a string or hurdle 2 inches off the ground. Jumping distance and height will gradually increase as a child becomes stronger, more stable, and more confident. As stability improves, a child will also begin to develop the ability to hop on one foot several times by around 47-48 months of age.
*All timeframes taken from the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, 2nd Edition