Physical Development in Children Ages 0-3 Years Old

During the first three years of life, humans transition from complete physical dependence to independence with a majority of basic self-help and mobility skills.

While the exact timeline differs from child to child, all newborns share a gradually progression and development as they age from infants into young children. If you have any concerns about a child in your life, discuss them with the child’s physician.

Birth to 3 Months

Babies learn how to control their muscles and movements. Motor control develops from the head, moves down through the arms and the trunk and then to the legs and feet, according to an item on early development on the online magazine Parenting.

At first, children's movements are reflexive in nature -- for example, turning their head to the side when you stroke their cheek.

As motor development continues, babies will learn to interact with their environment. By one month, a baby can turns its head from side to side when lying on the back or belly, and can move its hands and arms.

3 to 6 Months

Young girl (3-4) squatting on road by basket with eggs, side view

Baby Leg Development

Learn More

Motor movement continues to improve as a baby approaches her first half-birthday.

A 3-month-old kicks its legs when lying on the belly or back, and bats at and briefly grasps toys, according to Healthy Children. Between 3 and 4 months, he should be rolling with belly to back first, and by 6 months will be rolling back to belly.

6 to 12 Months

As an infant approaches her first birthday, her motor skills continue to develop and she can begin to explore the world around her.

At 6 months of age, the average baby can begin to sit without support, and begins to stand with support between 7 and 8 months of age.

By 8.5 months, infants begin crawling on their hands and knees, and walking with assistance occurred at approximately 9 months. The ability to stand alone takes a bit longer -- about 11 months.

12 to 24 Months

Young girl (3-4) squatting on road by basket with eggs, side view

Development of Depth Perception in Infants

Learn More

By 12 months of age, the average baby can take a few steps on their own.

Between 13 and 15 months, walking skills increase and he can begin to walk, unassisted, across a room. Playing movements, such as kicking and throwing balls, begin around 18 months, and at this time babies might start running, climbing stairs with assistance, and propelling scoot toys join the toddler’s set of mobility and play skills.

24 to 36 Months

Between the ages of 2 and 3, balance improves and the toddler walks with a smoother pattern. During this period she learns to stand briefly on one foot, walk backwards, and walk on tiptoes. The average child can jump in place by age 2, and is able to jump over objects by age 3.

Between 30 and 34 months, toddlers begin to walk up stairs alternating feet without a hand held or use of a railing.Around 35 months, you'll start to see some prowess on the playground, and children can run and play with standard playground equipment. Playtime increases in sophistication as kids age, and by 3 years your child is well on their well to riding a tricycle.