Some of life’s sweetest moments can proceed from watching your little one grow, develop and flourish into an active, healthy child. It is therefore undoubtedly concerning for a parent to realise that their child isn’t developing their skills at the ‘normal’ rate!

If this sounds familiar to you click read more for information on gross motor milestones throughout childhood.
It is important to understand that no two children are alike, and the changes associated with a certain age may not manifest itself at the same time for every child. ​​That being said, ‘developmental milestones’ are commonly used to describe skills that a child should begin to learn around a certain age; this allows parents and practitioners to monitor a child’s progress and implement interventions should the need for it arise. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp recently reported that early intervention of childhood developmental issues to produce positive outcomes over non-intervention is supported by evidence from a number of clinical studies.

Gross motor milestones are movements that involve the coordination of the arms, legs and other large body parts i.e. running. The following are gross motor milestones your child should be achieving:

Two Years old:

  • Stands on tiptoes
  • Begins to run
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on rail/hand
  • Picks up toys from floor without falling over

Three Years old

  • Able to walk on tip toes
  • Runs easily
  • Climbs jungle gym and ladders
  • Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step
  • Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)
  • Catches using body
  • Jumps in place with two feet together

Four Years old

  • Stands on one foot for up to 5 seconds
  • Kicks a ball forwards
  • Throws a ball overarm
  • Catches a ball that has been bounced
  • Able to walk on a line
  • Able to hop on one foot
  • Jumps over an object and lands with both feet together

Five Years old:

  • Able to walk upstairs while holding an object
  • Walks backward toe-heel
  • Jumps forward 10 times without falling
  • Skips after demonstration
  • Steps forward with leg on same side as throwing arm when throwing a ball
  • Catches a small ball using hands only

Six Years old:

  • Runs lightly on toes
  • Able to walk on balance beam
  • Able to skip using a skipping rope
  • Demonstrates mature throwing and catching patterns
  • Mature (refined) jumping skills

Delays in developmental milestones can lead to implications such as:

  • Poor muscle development
  • Decreased opportunities for social interaction due to lack of confidence whilst in active environments i.e. playgrounds
  • Poor development of body awareness and movement planning skills
  • Difficulties using playground equipment or participating in sporting activities

Associated features to also observe:

  • Clumsiness and constant tripping over
  • Tiring frequently with physical activity
  • Avoiding physical activity
  • Pain with activity

Physiotherapists have a key role in improving a child’s ability to develop their gross motor skills through the improvements of muscle strength, co-ordination, balance and postural reactions in a fun and exciting environment.

If you have any concerns about your child and their development, contact our practice to organise an appointment with our paediatric physio Nicole!