One of the most exciting moments of being a new parent is watching your child hit a new milestone, such as rolling, crawling or taking their first step. These big movements are part of your child’s gross motor skill development, and it all starts with “tummy time.”
Tummy time is the foundation for physical gross motor skills because it allows babies to start building head and trunk control. This trunk control is what leads them to start rolling over between four to six months old, normally by accident the first time! By six or seven months, babies will start sitting up independently for short periods of time. Floor mobility should be occurring by ten months, and includes crawling, scooting, or any other way of moving around a room. A child can begin to walk by themselves from as young as nine months until fifteen months.
It is important for parents to understand that all infants and children hit these milestones at different times—there is always a range. The age that one of your children learns a certain skill does not mean that another child will learn at the same age. If you are concerned about your child’s development, bring your concerns to your pediatrician’s attention so they can help put your mind at ease or determine if there is a problem. If your doctor does find some delayed development, the sooner they can intervene, the better the outcomes. Your child’s pediatrician can guide you to the proper resources if further evaluation and/or therapy is needed.
Cone Health’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center offers free, preliminary screenings for children ages 3 months to 10 years old. For more information and to schedule a screening, call (336) 274-7956. Also, healthychildren.org is a useful, credible website for parents to reference.
Carrie Sawulski is a licensed physical therapist at Cone Health Outpatient Rehabilitation Center. Sawulski has also earned a specialty designation as a pediatric clinical specialist through the American Physical Therapy Association. She received a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy from Ohio State University in 1997.