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In what order do children learn moves? What comes first - rolling from back to side, or from belly to side? When does the baby learn to sit, when to crawl, etc.

I am most interested in the order, but information about when particular moves are learned would be nice too.

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As much as I love the accessibility and wealth of knowledge available on the internet, I found that my first stop for info such as you're asking for was the book What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff. It's a great general reference book. –  Jax Feb 16 at 0:20

2 Answers 2

I think you will find the month by month outline on American Pregnancy Helpful because it goes over the major developments you can expect in a very clear and precise way for the first year. The list includes motor skills as well as others (such as social) but since the most noticeable and "measured" developments that occur during the first year are generally motor developments, of course these are included clearly.

Specifically in regard to rolling over, it lists back to side as beginning to happen around month four, then stomach to back in month five and back to stomach at month six.

Of course you'll be aware that these are averages and all babies do exhibit differences from one to the next. As an example, I currently take care of an infant (eleven months) and his older brother (of three years). The infant can crawl but mostly chooses to "worm" his way around preferring an army crawl to one on his hands and knees. His brother was already walking at the same age.

For an even fuller description of motor development babies, the history of the study of motor development in babies, and some thought about the mental development accompanying the motor developments (and/or) why things happen in the order in which they do, you could also read this article (I have yet to read the whole thing myself though) which is extremely detailed.

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Based on balanced mama's link, here are the estimated times of learning movements:


  • turn head left and right when lying on the back - 1st month

  • lift head when lying on stomach - 2nd month

  • holding objects - 3rd month
  • pull blankets - 3rd month
  • clutch own hands - 3rd month

  • roll from back to side - 4th month
  • reach for things - 4th month

  • roll from stomach to back - 5th month
  • put feet to mouth on its back - 5th month
  • plays with toes - 5th month

  • roll from back to stomach - 6th month
  • turn head both left-right and top-down - 6th month

  • sit without support - 7th month

  • sit without support and falling - 8th month

  • pull to standing position - 9th month
  • begin crawling - 9th month

  • go from stomach to sitting position - 10th month
  • wave "bye" - 10th month

  • walk holding to furniture or with parents help - 11th month

  • walk alone or with one hand held - 12th month
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