Fine And Gross Motor Skills Milestones For 1 Year Olds

An understanding of fine and gross motor skills for 1 year olds would not only help you monitor your child’s growth but also help her develop her fine and gross motor skills.

By Ram Shankar  • 4 min read

Fine And Gross Motor Skills Milestones For 1 Year Olds

Fine motor skills refer to the ability to coordinate the movement of small muscles. These skills are also known as ‘dexterity’. They involve the synchronisation of the hands and fingers with the eyes. Here are the fine motor skills milestones that you can expect your baby to cross in the first year of her life.

Fine motor skills for 1 year olds

0 to 1 month

  • Your baby’s fists remain clenched most of the time.
  • He exhibits the grasping reflex. Hold a finger out to him and you will find him grabbing it and holding it tightly. This is also known as the palmar grasp.
  • He tries to put his fist into his mouth and even succeeds sometimes!

1 to 6 months

  • Your baby can open and close her fists.
  • She takes a swipe at objects dangled in front of her.
  • Her hand–eye coordination improves and she uses her fingers and thumbs together to grab things.
  • She brings objects to her mouth.
  • She can reach for and hold small toys in her hands without tucking in the thumb.
  • She follows objects with her eyes in all directions.

7 to 12 months

  • The baby practises the pincer grasp.
  • He can put things into a container and pick things out of it.
  • He starts to stack blocks, and can stack 2–3 blocks by the time he completes 1 year.
  • He can bang two cubes together.
  • He pokes at things with his index finger.
  • He can transfer objects from one hand to the other.
  • He tries to imitate scribbling.

Red flags to watch for

While we’ve listed the milestones, you need to understand that every child is unique and these milestones are only indicative. Don't worry if your baby’s progress seems slow. However, you need to look out for some red flags. Talk to your paediatrician if you think there is a cause for concern. The American Academy of Pediatrics lists the red flags as follows.

  • By 2 months, your baby has not started to use her hands.
  • By 3 months, she seems to be lacking the grasping reflex. She does not grab your finger and cannot hold her head up well.
  • By 4 months, she does not grab or bring objects to her mouth.
  • By 7 months, she reaches out with only one hand and has difficulty getting objects into her mouth.
  • By 1 year, she is not waving, shaking her head to say ‘no’, or pointing to objects.

While fine motor skills are all about dexterity, your baby also needs to develop gross motor skills to function well. Gross motor skills are those abilities which would allow your child to use the larger muscles. These muscles help your baby perform tasks like sitting, standing, walking, running, kicking, lifting and throwing. Here are gross motor milestones for baby aged 3 to 12 months.

Gross motor skills for 1 year olds

3 to 6 months

  • Moves head from side to side
  • Keeps head steady when held in sitting position
  • Sit with support at the waist
  • Rolls to the left and right
  • Reaches for objects with either hand
  • Transfers objects from one hand to the other
  • Brings feet to mouth
  • Can lift head when lying on stomach

6 to 9 months

  • Can sit and play with objects
  • Assumes the crawling position on hands and knees
  • Crawls on the belly
  • Stands up holding on to objects/hand of parents
  • Recognise voices of people

9 to 12 months

  • Gets to sitting position without help
  • Pulls up to stand
  • Stands without support for some time
  • Can stand without support for some time
  • Takes few steps holding on to furniture/parent’s hand

Red flags to watch for 

  • By 7 months, your baby does not begin rolling
  • By 10 months, she does not begin sitting
  • By 10 months, she does not begin crawling
  • By 12 months, she does not begin to sit upright
  • By 12 months, she does not begin to pull up to stand

Gross motor skills are essential for your child, but she has to put in a lot of effort to learn them well. You can encourage her to develop her gross motor skills by modelling various gross motor activities for 1 year olds like lifting, picking objects and crawling.

The first year is an eventful period in your child’s development. You will be awestruck as you observe his gradual development, starting from the clumsy raking of objects around him to grasping small objects with a pincer grasp using his little fingers!

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