7–9 months old: Gross motor skill development

7–9 months old: Gross motor skill development

Your baby’s gross motor skill development from 7–9 months. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Gross motor skill development allows babies to exercise their balance, coordination, and major 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: 7–9 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby can sit down on their own, stay balanced while sitting, and stay seated without support for longer periods, which leaves their hands free to handle 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 rock back and forth when on their hands and knees, and when lying on their tummy, they can use their arms to push themself into a sitting position.
  • They can move around by rolling from back to tummy, then tummy to back. They gradually learn to move around by crawling on their stomach until eventually, they can crawl on all fours.
  • They can stand up from a seated position when you pull them up by their hands. Sometimes, they get up on their own by holding on to furniture, and they stand firmly on their feet when held upright.
  • Your baby can get to their knees by holding on to furniture and plays in this position.

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

  • Stand when you take their hands, stay upright, and put one foot in front of the other.
  • Move more quickly on all fours.
  • Instinctively hold their arms out to avoid falling forward or to the side.
  • Sit down by simply falling back on their bum before learning to control their descent by squatting.
  • Want to climb on furniture and people. Then, when they learn to stand, they’ll start trying to crawl up the stairs on all fours.
  • Take sideways steps by holding on to furniture.
  • Go from a seated position to all fours, and vice versa, without any help.
What to watch out for
Consult a doctor if at 9 months, your baby is unable to do the following:
  • Sit up
  • Roll from back to tummy or from tummy to back

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 baby’s gross motor skill development.

When you play on the floor at a certain distance from your baby and encourage them to come toward you,
they begin to explore their environment more actively.
When you encourage your baby to walk sideways while holding on to furniture and, when they do, help them walk forward by holding their hands,
they know they can reach you even if they’re some distance away. They stand more confidently and can safely try new experiences because you’re right there with them.
When you get down on all fours and play hide-and-seek with your baby in a small area of the house,
they feel more independent while also feeling loved, reassured, and safe because they can always find you.
When you place an object slightly out of reach and encourage your baby to approach it, without frustrating them,
they feel encouraged to exercise independence and rewarded when they successfully reach the object without help.
When you sit your baby on the floor near a solid, stable piece of furniture so that they can grab on to it and pull themself up (making sure that the corners are baby-proofed),
they learn to stand up.
When you encourage your baby to crawl up the stairs and help by moving their legs forward,
they learn to move their body in a new way and feels safe with you by their side.


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/mediaphotos



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: Babies 8 to 12 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