The Step by Step Guide to Pediatric MilestonesJuly 19, 2016
A new parent, or even a seasoned parent, can worry if their child is meeting all of their milestones.
Wondering if their child is sitting up at the right time, crawling, or even walking.
Common thoughts are to notice any delays and address them, but how do you know when is the right time for your precious little one to start meeting their motor milestones?
All children will develop at their own rate and speed.
Some may develop faster than others, but there are some milestones that need to be achieved by a certain age. Many parents wonder, “Does my child need help?” or “Is there anything I can do to assist my child?”
The answer is yes.
Physical Therapy can help assist in various cases of child development. Some more mild cases of motor delay can be assisted in out-patient PT, where more sever cases of delay need to be addressed in a more specialized facility.
“How do we know when our child needs PT?”
Here are some age appropriate guidelines to base any decision off of.
By 2 Months
Your baby should be able to hold their head up and begin to push up when lying on their tummy.
Act early if they do not bring their hands to their mouth or is unable to hold their head up when pushing up while on their tummy.
By 4 Months
Your baby should be able to hold their head up steady and unsupported, roll from their tummy to back, push down with their legs when their feet are against a hard surface, and can hold and shake a toy.
You may also notice that your baby is bringing their hands to their mouth, as well as pushing and holding themselves on their elbows while on their tummy.
Act early if they are not able to hold their head up steadily without support or if they do not push down with their legs when placed on a hard surface.
By 6 Months
Now your little one can roll in both directions, back to front and front to back. They begin to sit without support and can stand, supporting their weight on their legs while holding onto something or someone.
In the standing position they may bounce, but don’t worry. Most children do not start walking this early. At this age, sometimes a child will begin to get into crawling position, or quadruped, and to rock back and forth. Crawling backwards before forwards is not uncommon either.
Act early if they are not rolling in either direction, reaching for items in their reach, if they seem stiff with tight muscles, or seem floppy like a rag doll.
By 9 Months
By this age your baby should begin to pull to stand and stand while holding onto something, as well as stand without holding. They can get themselves into a sitting position and sit without support. At this point, your child should be crawling.
Act early if you notice your child not bearing weight through their legs without support and if they do not sit without help.
By 12 Months
Here your baby should be pulling to stand and walk while holding on to the furniture, cruising. They are able to get in and out of a sitting position without help. He or she can stand alone and may take their first steps without holding on, so be ready with your camera.
Act early if your child is not able to pull to stand or cruise between 12 and 14 months.
By 18 Months
By this time your baby should be walking along and even pull toys while walking. You should also see them drink from a cup and eat with a spoon without help.
You may notice that your baby is now going up steps, as well as fast walking or slowly and unsteadily running.
Act early if your child cannot walk unassisted.
My Most Frequently Asked Question
“Is tummy time important?”
The answer is yes.
Tummy time helps to increase neck and back strength needed for support while sitting and standing.
Lack of development in these muscles can lead to lack of stability and prolonged time with meeting regular developmental milestones. Not having proper neck and back strength can lead to delays of all milestone accomplishments, including sitting, crawling, and walking.
If you notice your child does not seem to be meeting their physical/movement milestones, be sure to make an appointment with your pediatrician and possibly seek assistance through physical therapy.