All children develop at different rates and in slightly different ways. Differences in development may be related to personality, temperament, experiences or even cultural differences.

Some children are born with special needs that can impact their health, growth and development while other children may not show developmental deficits, delays, or differences until later on in their childhood.

It’s important to know early warning signs regarding motor skills so children can get the support and help they need early on if they do have a developmental delay in gross or fine motor skills. The sooner a concern is identified, the sooner the child and their family can receive individualized, developmental support and guidance specifically around building up their motor skills.

Reasons for concern that your child or a child in your care may need extra support and help with their motor skills would be if the child displays any of the following signs:

  • Has stiff arms or legs
  • Pushes away from you or “arches” backwards when held close or cuddled
  • Has a floppy or limp body posture
  • Uses one side of the body more often than the other
  • Displays extreme reactions to touch, textures, or pain
  • Has poor coordination or moves in a disorganized, clumsy manner compared to other children the same age, or displays difficulty planning out their movements
  • Has fearful reactions to ordinary movements or an excessive need to seek out sensory input such as spinning, rocking, or hand flapping
  • By 3 months, still has difficulty holding his or her head up
  • By 4-6 months, is not reaching for, grasping, or holding objects, or not bringing objects to his or her mouth
  • By 6 months, does not roll over or cannot sit up without help
  • By 12 months, is not pulling up to a standing position, is not standing up when supported, is not creeping using hands and knees, is dragging one side of his or her body while crawling, or not yet picking up small items using their thumb and index finger
  • By 18 months, has difficulty walking independently, without your help, is not scribbling with crayons
  • By age 2, is walking only on toes, cannot kick a large ball, is not building a tower using 3-4 blocks
  • By age 3, is not walking up or down stairs independently while alternating their feet, shows poor coordination and falls or stumbles a lot when running, is not yet jumping lifting both feet off the ground, is not able to catch a large ball, or has difficulty turning pages in a book
  • By age 4, has difficulty standing on one foot for 5 seconds, pedaling a tricycle 10 feet forward, trouble hopping on 1 foot, or drawing simple shapes
  • By age 5, has difficulty skipping using alternating feet, pumping themselves on a swing, or trouble cutting on a line with scissors


These are only a few developmental milestones and red flags I watch for in children up to age 5. If you suspect that your child, or a child in your care, might be experiencing a developmental delay or may need some extra help or support, I invite you to contact me to discuss your concerns in a complimentary “Little Hero Success” phone or Skype session. I’d be honored to hear your story and your concerns. Even children who have serious delays can make big improvements when the right kind of support begins as early as possible. I know you and your child can succeed!  😀
Twitter: @DeniseCarbon