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Development is an ongoing process from conception until maturity. The sequence in all children with few exceptions is approximately the same. Still, it's important to realise that every child is different and development varies from one child to another. Let's find out what developmental milestones are and when approximately children should be hitting them. 

What are developmental milestones? 

The developmental milestones are associated with maturation of the Central Nervous System. Involuntary/spontaneous movements provide the place for voluntary/non-spontaneous responses. These milestones switch from dependence to independence.
Infant motor milestones are a specific ability that we expect babies to hit at a certain age range. Many parents know the significant milestones like rolling, crawling, and walking, but don't know the ones in between. Most parents have lots of concerns about what to expect to see next, how to help their babies reach various milestones.

Understanding your child's development

For new parents, it can be hard to understand precisely where their child's development is currently at. Fortunately, this article breaks it down into simple milestones and processes remove the guesswork to have a better image of the progress of your child’s health and motor skills.

Four fields with a sequence of development:

  • Gross Motor: The development of locomotion
  • Vision and fine manipulation: The development of eye-hand control
  • Hearing & speech: The development of language
  • Personal & social: An integration of acquired abilities to reflect an understanding of the environment

Developmental milestones by age range

Newborn to 1 Month: 

Gross Motor Skills:
  • Lifts head briefly in a prone position (lying on his stomach)
  • Head to side while lying on his stomach
  • Head lag in pull to sit
  • Reflex standing and walking
Fine Motor Skills:
  • Regards object in the line of gravity
  • Follow an object to the midline
  • Hands fisted
  • Arm movement Jerky
  • Movement may be purposeful or random
Hearing and Speech: 
  • Makes a variety of gurgling sounds and cooing when content
  • Babbles or coos while someone is talking to them
  • The cries are monotonous, with a long pause
  • Listen 30 seconds to the caretaker's voice
  • Sound and voice reaction
  • Scream if hungry or unhappy
Personal and Social:
  • Smiles or moves when primary senses (hear, smell, taste, touch, vision) are triggered
  • Prefers items with shades of contrast
  • A glance at individuals and things within 12 inches
  • Communicate and explore the world using their senses and their movement
  • Discover the world by looking, tasting, hearing, thinking and listening openly

2 to 3 Months:

Gross Motor Skills:
  • Lifts head 90 degrees while lying on stomach
  • Legs kick reciprocally
  • Prefer head to the side
  • Needs full support to sit
  • Roll from prone (lying on stomach) to supine (lying on back)
Fine Motor Skills:
  • Can see further distance
  • Hands open movement
  • Visually follow through 180 degrees
  • Grasp is reflexive
  • Uses the palmar grasp
Hearing and Speech: 
  • Cry more rhythmically with mouth open and close
  • Uses multiple cries for specific needs (hunger, weariness, discomfort)
  • May smile on familiar faces and voices, mainly mum
  • Begins learning that sound making gets an answer
  • Silence to familiar expression
  • Looks for sound with the eyes
  • Watch the eyes and mouth of a speaker
Personal and Social:
  • He enjoys physical touch
  • Calms with rhythmic movements, for instance, swinging back and fourth
  • Capable of self-regulating for example, falling asleep in over-stimulating environments

4 to 5 Months:

Gross Motor Skills:
  • Pivot in prone to reach the toys
  • Bears weight on extended arms
  • Play with feet to mouth
  • Turn head in sitting position
  • Sits alone for a brief period
  • Bears all weight through legs in supported standing
Fine Motor Skills:
  • Grasp & release toys
  • Uses ulnar and palmar grasp
Hearing and Speech: 
  • Vocalises to express displeasure
  • Finds sound with eyes
  • Babble increases
  • Babble in chains (ex: babababa)
  • Laughs
  • Initiates "talking" by babbling to another person
  • Turns head to find a hidden voice
  • Responds to sound by vocalising
  • Vocalises when playing alone or with a caregiver
  • Recognises friendly or angry tone of voice
  • Recognises own name
Personal and Social:
  • Searches with his/her eyes for sound and scans objects briefly
  • Enjoys movements and touch
  • Expresses unhappiness when an object or toy is taken away
  • Shows self-using verbal/non-verbal cues (cries, laughs, reaches for a familiar adult)


Gross Motor Skills:
  • Holds weight on the one hand to reach the toys
  • Sits independently
Fine Motor Skills:
  • Approaches objects with one hand
  • Arm in neutral when approaching the toy
  • Radial and palmar grasp
  • Pick up small objects with fingers
  • Voluntary release to transfer objects between hands
Hearing and Speech: 
  • Reacts to sounds when no source is apparent
  • Shouts to take notice
  • Answers to a basic "come here" question
  • Shows interest in sounds from toys or other gadgets
  • Reflects facial expressions
  • Imitates basic manners
  • Looks at a picture named after it
  • Knows the names of the family members
  • Meanwhile responds to "no"
Personal and Social:
  • Pure imitative toy play with a caregiver
  • Experiences a wide range of emotions
  • Plays with toys briefly, more independently
  • Increased interest in self, others, world
  • Entertains self briefly
  • Initiates play

8 to 9 Months:

Gross Motor Skills:
  • Gets into hands-knee position
  • Sit without hand support for more extended periods
  • Pivot in sitting position
  • Stands at furniture and walk along with it
  • Crawl forward
Fine Motor Skills:
  • Takes objects out of the container
  • Develop active supination
  • Uses inferior pincer grasp
  • Extends wrist actively
  • Pivot with an index finger
  • Pokes with an index finger
  • Release of objects is more refined
  • Fine pincer grasp developed
  • Put objects into the container
  • Grasps adaptively
Hearing and Speech: 
  • "Bye-bye waves"
  • In games, vocalising
  • Starts recognising standard terms
  • Tentative imitation of sounds
  • Heightened babbling
  • Makes repeat syllables (ma ma ma, ba ba ba ba)
  • Produces four or more distinct sounds (ma, da, ba, ga)
Personal and Social:
  • Has increased anxiety over the separation
  • Capable of predicting repeated happenings
  • Love the independence that comes with their new movement
  • The permanence of the object ( i.e. in a position to find a toy concealed under a blanket)
  • Limit yourself to repeated thrilling encounters (shaking a rattle)
  • Experience mirror games

10 to 12 Months

Gross Motor Skills:
  • Stands without support
  • Pulls to stand using half kneel intermediate position
  • Pick up objects from the floor from standing with support
  • Walk with both hands held
  • Walk with one handheld
  • Creep on hand & feet (Bear Walk)
Fine Motor Skills:
  • Pinch with thumb and pointer finger on small objects
  • Move objects from one hand to the other
  • Drop and pick up toys
  • Bang two objects together
Hearing and Speech: 
  • Begins a spontaneous use of one or two words
  • Starts making effective use of "mom" or "dada"
  • Begins using a word for calling a human
  • Focuses on changing activities or inviting others
  • Imitates variations of the consonants and vowels
  • Imitates non-talking sounds
  • Starts imitating familiar object names
  • Also vocalises with intent
Personal and Social:
  • Moving about while looking to the caregiver to authorise his / her acts
  • Uses caregiver as a safe base from which to explore (will explore the world, but make sure parents are still physically present as they do)
  • Imitative learning; baby copies the behaviour of caretakers as learning methods
  • Carries out social attention
  • Begins expecting ordinary happenings
  • Starts thinking about the concept of turn-taking

How to facilitate motor development? 

  • Giving your child plenty of tummy time
  • Help babies get an upright posture
  • Encourage your babies to reach out and grasp
  • Encourage free play and to make yourself a playmate that is visible, responsive and non-bossy
Parents can promote movement and development by creating healthy playing and learning environments for babies themselves. Parents can also promote growth by engaging in development-appropriate activities such activity reaching, and other safe movement-encouraging practices.
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