Prince Lionheart's Toolbox Session with Marissa form @pediatricphysicaltherapy. A very informative Q&A that addresses baby and toddler milestones and when to worry.


Marissa’s story?

Marissa graduated from the Medical University of School Carolina (MUSC) with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2016. She then completed a Pediatric Physical Therapy residency program with Brooks Institute of Higher Learning in Jacksonville, FL. Marissa has worked with children of all ages and diagnoses in numerous pediatric settings such as early intervention, acute care, sub-acute rehab, outpatient clinics, and schools. She has been focused on providing services in the natural environment (such as homes, playgrounds and the community at large) since 2017. Marissa has spent time educating and mentoring physical therapy students and maintains status as faculty and research liaison for the current residents at Brooks.

How do I know if my child is developing on track & when to worry?

The best way is to listen to your gut. If you feel like something is off, then reach out for support. A great rule of thumb to keep in mind is the 2-month rule. For example, a baby should be rolling between 4-6 months, either belly to back or back to belly. If you are approaching the 6-month mark and your little one is not showing any signs of rolling, do not start to worry but do start to look for support in your local area.

2- to 3-month old baby should be able to tolerate some tummy time and be able to lift their head for a few seconds when lying on their tummy. Shortly after that (4 months) we want to see that your little one is able to push up onto elbows/forearms when on their tummy.

Propped sitting (Baby is supporting him-/herself with arms in front on the floor) can start as early as 5 months. Between 6- to 8-months is when you should start to see signs of independent sitting. Your little one should be able to hold a toy in their hand while sitting without falling over.

Crawling starts between 8- to 11-months. Some babies may start sooner, but most of the time do not have the core strength yet needed for crawling so it may look a bit off if your little one starts crawling around 6- to 7-months already.

9- to 10-months you should start seeing your little one pulling him-/herself up to standing & they also start furniture cruising around that time as well.

 A lot of parents get worried if their little one is not walking around 12 months. But it is important to know that there is a range for this milestone, and the range is 12 to 16 months.

What are the time frames for stairs, kicking a ball and running?

Crawling up the stairs can start as early as 12 months. Coming down the stairs, backwards on their tummy is usually closer to 16- to 18-months old. Walking up and down the stairs while holding on is a skill your little one will master around 2 years old. And by the time they are 2.5 years old they are usually able to walk up and down the stairs with or without support.

Kicking a ball can start as early as 18-months, but may still look a little off around that time. Around 24-months then they should be able to kick a ball successfully, with actually lifting the foot off the floor and kicking it. Some kids are not interested in kicking a ball. If your little one is just not interested in kicking a ball, try to fill an old oat can with beans and glue the lid on so they are not able to open it and swallow the beans. Then you can show them how you kick the can and it makes this interesting sound they will automatically want to kick the can as well to reproduce that sound.

Catching a ball is usually much closer to 3 years old.

Running usually starts 6-months after they start walking. But running and actually swinging both arms usually starts around toddlerhood.