Fine motor development is the development of the small muscle movements in the body. Newborns don’t have much for fine motor skills when they are first born, but like you’ll see throughout this series, they develop quickly over the course of the first year.

During the first four months:

  • Newborn will go from having a grasp reflex where their hands are in fists most of the time to being able to unclench them more.
  • They go from uncontrolled arm movements to being able to have more control over how they are moving them. This includes seeing them start to swat at toys close to them and eventually be able to grab onto one that they want.
  • They will go from having trouble putting their hands in their mouths to having no trouble at all.
  • They go from not being able to move their head to being able to use their neck muscles to hold their head where they want it to be.
  • They will start being able to follow your movements with their eyes if you are a few inches from their face.

During months 4 to 6:

  • They will master being able to reach for the items they want.
  • They will start being able to put an object from one hand to the other.
  • They can start holding their own hands together
  • Some will start to move their body to roll from back to front.
  • They can start pushing their head and chest up from when they are on their bellies.

During months 6 to 9:

  • They will use both hands together to explore things and put them to their mouths.
  • They will start dropping objects on purpose.
  • They may be able to hold their own bottle.
  • They can start banging two objects together.
  • They will start sitting independently for short periods of time.

During months 9 to 12:

  • Their pincer grasp begins to develop where they use their index finger and thumb to grasp things.
  • They will start to turn pages in a book.
  • They can put objects into a container and take them out again.
  • They may start to show hand preference.
  • They can wave hello or goodbye.
  • They will start putting their arms or legs out for you when you are getting them dressed.

As you can see, during the first year, newborns go from those who can’t do much when it comes to fine motor, to being able to do so much more by their first birthday!