Step By Step: Movement Milestones In Toddlers 1 - 3 years

Step By Step: Movement Milestones In Toddlers 1 - 3 years

The developmental milestones occurring in your baby between 1 and 3 years lay down the groundwork for different physical movements of his/her adult life. Development of physical activities helps in making a toddler independent. With growth, there is an increase in different activities of the baby. This helps a toddler to learn and explore new things in the surroundings. The activities in the learning process involve multiple movements of arms and legs like walking, running, jumping, etc. which keeps him/her always busy.


Toddler developmental milestones

The child enters the toddler stage after the first year of infancy. Various developments that  had occurred up to the first year progress further during this stage. In addition, many new developmental changes occur that promote growth of a toddler.

Increase in muscle strength helps in further progression and development of motor skills in a toddler. Timely toddler developmental milestones also mean a normally functioning central nervous system and brain.

Motor skills for toddlers include sitting and standing unsupported, walking, jumping, running; movements of arms, neck, etc.

Physical activities require efficient coordination of movements in big joints like knees, elbows,  hip and shoulder which are controlled by brain and the central nervous system.



Infant milestones by month


Various physical developments appear in stages with the growing age of a toddler as follows:

  • After the first birthday, a toddler can sit and stand alone without wobbling. He/she can comfortably change positions from sitting to standing and vice versa. The toddler can now walk by holding one hand of an adult while walking. After a few weeks, he/she starts walking independently. A toddler starts carrying out activities using hands, such as banging toys, taking out toys from a basket, etc.

By the end of 15 months, your toddler can bend and squat to  pick up things from the ground.


  • The toddler walks alone and may run a few steps by the time he/she is 18 months old. He/she can play with toys which can be pulled along while walking.


  • A 2 year-old-toddler runs properly, is very active and runs around the house while playing. You will observe various new gross motor development skills in your toddler in this stage. Different hand and leg movements including playing with a ball, bouncing and throwing a ball, kicking the ball with a foot, walking on toes tips, etc. occur in this stage.


  • At 2.5 years of age, the child can throw a ball with an outstretched hand. He/ she can jump on one place or jump down a step.


  • Motor development in children at 3 years advances further. The toddler can catch a ball that is thrown towards him/her, runs easily and climbs up and down the stairs efficiently. The child can climb up the furniture and jump down. A marked development is also seen in fine activities of hand and legs that requires efficient muscle coordination.


Developmental anomalies

Occasionally, there may be an abnormality in toddler developmental milestones requiring medical consultation. Abnormalities commonly seen are:

  • frequent falling while walking or climbing down the stairs in a 3-year-old toddler
  • unsteady walking in a 2-year-old,
  • Walking without support in a 1-year-old


In comparison to a child born full term, toddler milestones are different in a premature infant. Motor development such as sitting, walking, standing, etc. is delayed in a preemie. A premature child may show delay in several child development stages.


If your toddler is consistently delayed on a lot of milestones, then talk to your paediatrician about it.


Also read: Developmental Delays In Toddlers

Explore the entire collection of articles: Baby Growth And Development


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