Occupational Therapy Milestones: Birth to 6 Months
Your child develops motor skills from a combination of physical maturation and exploration opportunities in their environment. You as a caregiver play a vital role in encouraging your child to explore and learn from their environment leading to the acquisition of skills. Below is a chart to help you better understand the milestones of development from birth to 6 months old. During this time period your child will be developing gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and visual-motor integration skills. Your child will begin to visually track toys/objects, progress to reaching for these toys, then grasping toys, and then release toys. It is important to note that at these stages your child is still developing. Grasp and release are two key developments; grasp of toys develops slowly, and voluntary release only begins to occur only at 7-9 months of age. Other important milestones in this age range include rolling and sitting.
As you go through these milestones, keep in mind that children can grow quickly at times, and slowly at other times, and regression may even take place. This is a natural process, and common in development. The key takeaway is that your nurturing as a parent plays the greatest role in your child’s development. Use this guide to provide age appropriate exploratory opportunities for your child to aid in their development. The chart is arranged with skills listed at the earliest stage of possible emergence. Therefore please remember you may begin to see these skills developing at any point after the date listed, and they will take some months to develop.
|Brings hands within range of eyes and mouth|
Moves head from side to side when lying on stomach
Hands are generally kept in tight fists, with displays of jerky arm movements
Tracks toys with eyes when lying on back
Holds toy for 30 seconds when placed in hand
Displays involuntary release from 1-4 months
Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
Stretches and kicks when placed on back
Opens and closes hands
Brings hands to mouth
Grasps and shakes toys when placed in hands
|4 Months||Brings hands to midline and reach toward on object |
Begins to transfer objects from hand to hand
Begins to display a palmar grasp (fingers are on top of object, with object resting in palm)
|5 – 6 Months||Begins to roll: first able to roll from stomach to back, then back to side, then back to stomach|
Begins to sit with self support (arms supporting), and by about 10 months develops ability to sit independently and play
|6 Months||Raking grasp observed (child extends many fingers and sweeps objects to them)|
Fleming-Castaldy, R. P. (2017). National occupational therapy certification exam review & study guide. Therapyed.Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2015). Development through life : a psychosocial approach. Cengage Learning.