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The Major Milestones of Physical Development in Children

By Meriem Cherif

As a child develops, from being a baby to attending school for the first time, they experience many physical milestone changes in their growth. These patterns are important to identify, since they can help us understand the healthy maturation of children, and notice any changes from the trend. Although the sequence of physical development varies from child to child based on their environment, there is a general progression that is consistent. Below, we provide a list of physical milestones most children experience from infancy to adolescence.

2 months

Pushes up when lying on stomach

Holds head up with support

Can control movement of limbs


4 months

Holds head up independently

Rolls over from stomach to back

Brings hands to mouth

Pushes up to elbows when lying on stomach

Can hold and shake objects, like toys


6 months

Begins to sit with help

Rolls over from back to stomach

Rocks back and forth Can support weight on legs when standing; might bounce


9 months

Crawls

Sits independently

Pulls to stand

Stands for longer periods of time when supported


12 months

Stands independently

Moves to sitting position independently

Begins walking with support

Can take a few steps independently


2-3 years

Begins to run

Climbs onto and down from furniture

Can throw objects overhand

Can stand on tiptoes

Able to draw, and copy straight lines and circle

Walks up and down stairs with support


6 years

Begin losing baby teeth; molars start developing

Since they were five years old…

Have grown about 2.5 inches

Have gained about 7 pounds


8 years

Have arms and legs that may seem long for their bodies

Grow about 2.5 inches in a year

Gain 7 pounds in a year.

Lose around 4 baby teeth a year


9 years

Start to show gender-related growth: girls start to get taller and weigh more than boys


10-12 years

Have developed control of muscles; are able to play sports like basketball, soccer, etc

Advance their fine motor skills; clearer handwriting and an ability to make detailed artwork


13-17 years

Have hit puberty

This list is not exhaustive, and different physical developments may occur at different times due to a child’s diet, physical activity, and overall health. However, knowing the milestones of physical development is helpful in assessing the growth of a child, and this list is a helpful reference to do so!


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