As your baby grows, physical therapy check-ins to monitor gross motor development are not the norm. Most pediatricians just do a quick checklist run-through during a well-child check and call it good. However, those checklists often encourage the “wait & see” approach - which isn’t what I recommend.

Instead, I always urge parents to be proactive in monitoring their baby’s development. This approach helps you spot problems early, gives you time to establish care with a pediatric physical therapist if needed, and minimizes the chances of your child falling too far behind in their developmental milestones. To help with this, I have created “checkpoints” that indicate when to proactively intervene.

I recommend seeking additional help from a pediatric physical therapist if baby is:

  • 1-2 months old with a side preference and/or flat spot.
  • 2-3 months old and struggling with tummy time.
  • 7 months old and not rolling belly-to-back and back-to-belly consistently.
  • 9 months old and not sitting independently.
  • 10 months old and not crawling on hands and knees.
  • 12 months old and not pulling to stand.
  • 14 months old and not cruising along furniture.
  • 16 months old and not taking independent steps.

Now, if you see that your child has hit one of these checkpoints, don’t panic! Remember, you’re being proactive - which means you just want to get a professional opinion. Thankfully, in most states, you don’t need a referral for your child to be evaluated by a pediatric physical therapist. So, there are not as many hoops to jump through as you may think to find a good pediatric physical therapist and schedule an evaluation.

We are trained to look at the details from head-to-toe and problem solve with you to find any roadblocks in your child’s gross motor journey. Plus, as pediatric physical therapists we have a lot of gross motor tips and tools in our “therapy toolbox”; there is no one-size-fits-all list of recommended interventions.

So, have a question about your child’s gross motor development? Just ask a pediatric physical therapist.


If you're in Dallas and have questions about your child's gross motor skills, head shape, or side preference let us know - we are here to help. As a mom and a pediatric physical therapist, it is my goal to set kiddos and parents up for gross motor success. Stay tuned as I publish more blog posts with gross motor tips. And if you made it this far, thank you! Please check out and follow, like, comment, etc. our social media accounts. I appreciate it!   

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Dr. Amie Dougherty

Dr. Amie Dougherty

Owner/Pediatric Physical Therapist

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