Gross Motor Skills: Birth to 18 months

While serving on a “Birth to 5” community committee, I was the recipient of a 11/2004 “Review Draft” that the State of Washington was researching, with the intent of publishing “Washington State Early Learning and Developmental Benchmarks.”

This draft is comprehensive from ages Birth to Kindergarten entry.  There are approximately 160 pages of “Benchmarks” to detail the entire developmental aging process for the first five years of life.

Here are the “Gross Motor Skills” for Birth to 18 months:

“Some Indicators for Children:

  • Gains voluntary control of arm and leg movements
  • Rolls over
  • Lifts head and chest while on tummy
  • Pounds on things with hands
  • Reaches for feet and brings them to mouth
  • Gradually sits with support, then sits without support.
  • Creeps and crawls
  • Pulls self up to stand, holding on to something or someone.
  • Walks holding on to furniture, then later as the primary means of moving around.
  • Stoops over to explore things on the ground.
  • Tries to climb stairs
  • Pushes or pulls open doors

Some Strategies for Caregivers:

  • Encourage child to move freely during waking hours.
  • Place a variety of safe objects within reach for child to reach for and move toward.
  • Provide a range of objects to be pulled, squeezed, and held.
  • Play games and sign songs that involve child’s hands and feet.
  • Provide a safe environment and objects for child to be physically active.”

The therapist in me wants to remind parents and caregivers of Birth to Five children to always encourage the child to make eye contact with you, even during play times.  Not to stare at you, but to provide a kind of brief “check in” between parent and child.  Use a variety of facial expressions to stimulate your child’s responsiveness to you.  All of this to build trust, safety and attachment.

(I will continue to give these lists of benchmarks.  Please let me know if you like this kind of information in this format.   If you have specific ages in mind, including older than Five, please let me know, as will attempt to address requests.)

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