Developing Motor Skills in Babies

Babies are born almost helpless and totally dependent on their mothers for everything. They cannot feed themselves, bathe themselves, or even excrete themselves. 

WedMD in this article explains some stages that you should expect changes. But as time goes on, certain changes are expected especially with their fine motor skills. If you are very observant as a parent, you will definitely know the right time you should be expecting some movements in your baby.

There’s more to tracking your baby’s development than logging height and weight. There are a number of other childhood milestones and developments of motor skills to keep watch for.

Pediatrician Michelle Bailey, MD, medical director of Duke Health Center at Southpoint, says you can look for signs of emerging motor and language skills in the very first months of your baby’s life.

“Babies begin to vocalize around 1 month,” Bailey tells WebMD. “At 3 months, they should push their head up when they’re on their stomach. By 4 months, they chatter in response to you and squeal with laughter.”

Bailey says it’s a good idea for parents to watch for these early childhood milestones, along with the more obvious “firsts” such as walking and talking. Just be careful about comparing your child with peers or older siblings. “Remember that each child is an individual,” Bailey says. “There’s a wide range for when children achieve a particular milestone. For example, I’ve seen children walk as early as 9 months or as late as 14 months.” Read more here.

The following article by  Karen Gill, MD,  of the discusses indications that your baby’s motor skills are developing just fine.

Following objects

Typically, when your child is at around 4 months, the first indication that their fine motor skills are coming into play is the awareness that they will start moving the muscles of their head at this time. They can turn their heads and follow people or object with their head-turning either left or right.


From the time your child can lay on their stomach and support their weight with their arms to move around, that day your child starts the endless process of locomotion. At this stage, they depend on their mothers less when it comes to moving around and changing their position. They are attracted to something, the very next minute they get their crawling. At that stage also they can open their arms to someone they fancy or do otherwise when they are scared of a stranger. On average, a baby starts crawling between 6 to 10 months. Read more here.


Typically around 5 months on the average, the tiny muscles at your baby’s back will be strong enough to support her as she sits down for the first time. Before this time, they have already mastered lying on their tummy, moving their heads to follow objects and a little bit of crawling. So it’s easier moving on to the next stage: sitting. At first, you can be supporting them by placing objects they can rest on beside them but as time goes on, they can sit independently.

Standing and walking around

Anywhere between 7 months and 15 months, you should see your child standing and taking a few groggy steps and eventually walking on their two legs. The motor skills have strengthened and toughened up to allow the muscles in the arms and legs to support them in walking about. At this stage, they are energetic and even if they fall down while mastering their newly discovered skill, they get back up almost immediately and continue their movements.

The following article by HelpGuide explains how parents can help.

How You Can Help

As a caring parent, it is wise to support your toddler every step of the way. As you notice these improvements, look for what to do to help them. For example, when they start crawling, they are prone to picking up random objects on the floor and putting these objects into their mouth. You can do well to remove any poisonous substance or solvent from their reach.

When you also notice that they have started walking, clear their paths so they will not injure themselves. Read more here.