Gross Motor Development – Rolling Over, Sitting and Crawling

Rolling Over
The first time your baby rolls over may come as a surprise to both you and your baby. Watching a baby do a new trick the first time is a true joy.During the first year, there is a constant change and development, but rolling over may be something that your baby decides to not to do. Some babies go straight from lying to sitting.There is no need to worry if your baby does not roll over. The same muscles are used when you baby is sitting with support, and each child develops in different ways. There are also cultural differences and in some cultures, children learn to walk earlier than in other cultures.

Mini Push-Up

  • A two to three months old baby may be able to kick herself over from the tummy to her back.
  • A three months old  baby may practice little mini push-ups if she is placed on her tummy.
  • A baby may also rock on her tummy, and kick her legs.

These little “exercises” will strengthen your baby’s neck and arms. Most babies learn to flip from the tummy to the back, but some babies do it the other way.

  • Rolling over is a whole body manoeuvre, and the first step towards locomotion.
  • A baby can tuck her arms under herself and the head initiates the rotation.
  • Strong neck and arm muscles are necessary.
  • Many babies learn to roll over in both directions when they are around 5-6 months old.
  • A toy is often an incentive to roll over.
  • Some babies love rolling over and they use it as of way of moving across a room.

Always watch your baby when you are changing her diapers, some babies can roll over earlier. You never know at what age your baby may roll over – never leave a newborn baby on a table or on a raised area.


When your baby can roll over, you can gently encourage your baby by lying next to her. Lie just out of reach and encourage her to roll to you or towards you. Always smile and encourage your baby.

You can also hold a toy or put a toy beside your baby and encourage her to roll towards it.

I can sit

  • Most babies can sit up by six or seven months, and they often start crawling around that time.
  • When a baby’s neck muscles become stronger, around the fourth month, a baby likes to sit up and watch the world from a different viewpoint.
  • Proper head control is needed if a child is going to be able to sit independently, the torso also need to be strong.

You need to properly support your baby, and remember never to leave her unsupervised in a sitting position. Your baby may wobble and hurt herself.

Your baby enjoys watching everything that is happening around her, and a five month old baby loves watching the world if you take her for a walk in her buggy. Your baby can also sit propped up with a cushion or blanket in a high chair.

Most babies can sit independently around the eight month. Please remember that premature babies may take longer to develop motor skills.

Leaning Forward

After a while, your baby may figure out how to maintain her balance.

  • Many babies lean forward on one or both arms.
  • The legs are spread out to gain support.
  • As a baby’s balance and strength develops, she will be able to reach for toys and things while sitting.

You can put some toys around your child when she can sit independently and the toys may keep her occupied and interested for a while.  A baby learns by exploring and examining.

Many babies learn to pull themselves up to sitting position from lying on the tummy. A baby uses her arms to push into sitting position. And once your baby realise that she can lift her hands from the half sitting position she may start crawling.


The creativity and inventiveness when it comes to crawling is truly amazing. There are many different variations but some children omit crawling and start walking.

  • Many babies scoot along on their buttocks from sitting positions.
  • Some babies half push themselves – a baby’s arms are stronger and better co-coordinated than her legs.
  • Other babies crawl backwards.
  • After awhile, a baby may start to dig in with her toes or knees before she starts to explore the house on hands or knees in the more traditional crawl position.

Make sure that the house is baby-proof so that it is safe for your curious mobile baby to explore. Electrical outlets may be tempting to a baby!

Three Principles

The main characteristics of motor development are:

  • Muscular development progress from head to toe – a baby can lift and control the head before they have a strong enough torso to sit.
  • Co-ordination and strength being close to the body – a baby will control the shoulder movements before the elbows and wrist.
  • The responses and actions are general and gradually become more specific – a sweeping movement at a ball will develop into a smoothly and deliberately catching of the ball.

Photo: Baby Bending Down Frontwards by photostock

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