As a parent, it can be concerning to hear that your baby is behind in motor development. But what does that really mean, and what can you do to help your little one catch up? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Motor Development?
Motor development refers to the ability to control movement, from large gross motor skills like crawling and walking to fine motor skills like grasping and manipulating objects with the hands.
Babies typically reach certain motor milestones at predictable ages. For example, they usually start rolling over between 4 and 6 months, sitting up without support around 6 months, and crawling between 6 and 10 months. Walking usually begins between 9 and 15 months.
Signs That Your Baby May Be Behind in Motor Development
If your baby isn’t meeting these milestones or seems to be significantly behind in motor development compared to other babies of the same age, it may be cause for concern. Signs that your baby may be behind in motor development include:
- Not reaching for or grasping objects by 6 months
- Not sitting up without support by 9 months
- Not crawling by 12 months
- Not walking by 18 months
- Difficulty with movements like jumping or running at older ages
What Can Cause Delayed Motor Development?
Delayed motor development can have many causes, including:
- Genetic factors
- Premature birth or low birth weight
- Illness or injury
- Lack of stimulation or opportunities for movement
What You Can Do to Help Your Baby Catch Up
If you’re concerned that your baby may be behind in motor development, there are steps you can take to help them catch up:
- Discuss your concerns with your pediatrician
- Provide plenty of opportunities for movement and play
- Encourage tummy time to help develop core muscles
- Use toys and games that promote hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills
- Consider working with a physical therapist or other specialist
With early intervention and plenty of support, most babies can catch up and develop their motor skills at their own pace.
The Bottom Line
If you’re worried that your baby is behind in motor development, it’s important to take action. Talk to your pediatrician, provide plenty of opportunities for movement and play, and consider working with a specialist if necessary. With the right support, your little one can reach their full potential.
Q: Is delayed motor development always a cause for concern?
A: Not necessarily. While it’s important to keep an eye on your baby’s motor development and discuss any concerns with your pediatrician, many babies develop at their own pace and catch up on their own.
Q: Can delayed motor development be reversed?
A: With early intervention and plenty of support, most babies can catch up and develop their motor skills at their own pace.
Q: What are some signs that my baby may need to see a specialist?
A: If your baby is significantly behind in motor development compared to other babies of the same age, or if they have other signs of developmental delays, your pediatrician may recommend working with a specialist like a physical therapist or occupational therapist.
Q: What can I do to encourage motor development in my baby?
A: Providing plenty of opportunities for movement and play, encouraging tummy time, and using toys and games that promote hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills are all great ways to encourage motor development in babies.
Q: How can I tell if my baby is making progress in their motor development?
A: Keep an eye on your baby’s motor milestones, and discuss any concerns or progress with your pediatrician. Over time, you should see your baby making progress and catching up to their peers.