3 months old: Gross motor skill development

3 months old: Gross motor skill development

Your baby’s gross motor skill development at 3 months old. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Gross motor skill development allows babies to exercise their balance, coordination, and large muscles. These abilities will help your little one master certain movements, such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, climbing, and jumping. Developing gross motor skills is also an important step toward developing fine motor skills.



Gross motor skill development: 3 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby keeps their head straight when lying on their back and can focus on and track objects.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • They touch their belly when lying on their back, bring their hands to their mouth, and explore their body.
  • They like to kick and wave their arms when on their back.
  • When lying on their tummy, they can lift their head and chest and are starting to push up on their forearms.
  • They’re almost able to hold their head up and can keep it steady when you help them into a sitting position.
  • They stretch their feet toward the ground when you hold them upright.

Over the next few weeks, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Touch and purposely grab at objects within their reach.
  • Put weight on their feet when held in a standing position and briefly stay upright when supported.
  • Roll over to one side when lying on their back.
  • Turn their head to track objects.
What to watch out for
To prevent flat head syndrome, make sure your baby’s head isn’t always turned to the same side. Talk to a doctor if you have any concerns.

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your baby’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your little one’s gross motor skill development.

Comfort
When you place your baby on your lap in different positions (e.g., on their stomach or back) and put them in your lap,
 
they use different muscles to observe their environment.
When you lay your baby on their back and sing while moving their arms and legs to the rhythm of the music,
 
they learn to use their muscles in a different way.
Teach
When you hold your baby in your lap while listening to music and tilt them from side to side to the beat,
 
they learn to find their balance and strengthen the muscles required to sit up.
When you gently bounce your baby on your knees while reading nursery rhymes or singing songs,
 
they learn to hold their head steady when their body is moving.
Play
When you place your baby on their stomach and lie down in front of them,
 
they practise lifting their head and chest and pushing up on their forearms to see your face.
When you lay your baby on their back and dangle an object within their reach,
 
they use their arms to grab it and develop better muscle control.

 

Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Sonya Côté and Virginia Sabourin, occupational therapists
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: March 2019

 

Photo: iStock.com/pkline

 

Sources

Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics. “Developmental Milestones: 3 Months.” www.healthychildren.org
  • Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. Physical Activity in Early Childhood: Setting the Stage for Lifelong Healthy Habits. April 2011. www.child-encyclopedia.com
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca

 

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