6 months old: Gross motor skill development

6 months old: Gross motor skill development

Your baby’s gross motor skill development at 6 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: 6 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby can roll from their back to their tummy.
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 can sit on their own by using their arms to prop themself up, and can even sit for a few moments without any support.
  • When they’re lying down and you reach out your hands, they can grab hold and pull themself up to a sitting position.
  • They can control their head movements in any position.
  • They can roll to the left or right when lying on their tummy.
  • Your baby can lift themself onto their hands and knees (crawling position) and rock back and forth.
  • They may push themself backwards on their tummy in an attempt to crawl forward.

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

  • Reflexively extend their arms if they lose balance while in a sitting position.
  • Sit up by themselves.
  • Move from a sitting position to their tummy.
  • Crawl on their tummy.
What to watch out for
If your baby can’t hold their head up when they’re in your arms or sitting, speak with a doctor.

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 child’s gross motor skill development.

When you praise your baby every time they roll over or push themself up to their hands and knees,
they’re delighted by your reaction and are encouraged to repeat these movements.
When you lie on your back next to your baby, take their hand, and show them how to roll over with gentle encouragements,
they gain confidence and slowly learn to roll over on their own.
When you prop your baby in a sitting position using pillows,
they get to see their environment from a new angle.
When you seat your baby in front of you and sing nursery rhymes like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,
they’re reassured by your presence and begin to feel more comfortable sitting up.
When you lay your baby on a blanket and encourage them to roll over by placing their favourite toy just out of reach,
they begin to learn new ways of moving their body.
When you sing to your baby and exaggerate your facial expressions while playing with their toes,
they enjoy this tactile experience and look forward to being tickled at the end of the song.


Naître et grandir

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


Photo: GettyImages/staticnak1983



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. “Movement Milestones: Babies 4 to 7 Months.” www.healthychildren.org
  • Centre de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS) du Suroît. “Développement moteur de l’enfant (0 à 12 mois) : pour mieux vous guider.” www.santemonteregie.qc.ca
  • 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