Gross Motor Skills

What are Gross Motor skills?

Gross motor skills involve the coordination of large muscle groups in the body to perform movements such as walking, kicking, sitting upright, lifting and throwing a ball. Muscle strength and neurological development are two contributing factors to achieving gross motor milestones.

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Check out this infographic about Gross Motor Skills Milestones

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What are some symptoms of poor gross motor skill development?

Children with poor gross motor development may demonstrate problems throwing and catching a ball, riding a bicycle, climbing stairs or walking appropriately. If a child’s gross motor skill development is delayed, he may demonstrate clumsy movements which signals low muscle tone.

How do I know if my child is progressing normally?

Parents are often concerned about whether or not their child is growing appropriately for his age. Children grow and develop in stages and, generally, maturation occurs from the ‘top down’–the neck muscles strengthen first, the neck then gains strength, enabling the child to hold up his head, the shoulders then strengthen, then the upper arms, and ultimately the child gains hand control. Following hand control, a child gains trunk control, followed by the hips and pelvis and eventually the legs.

How do I help treat my child’s poor motor skill development?

Dancing to music is a great way to strengthen one’s muscle tone and improve motor skills. Riding a bicycle, balancing on a balance beam and playing tag can be fun ways for your child to exercise his muscles and incorporate physical activity into his daily routine.

Our approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our energetic and experienced physical therapists will evaluate your child’s gross motor skills and set up an individualized treatment plan which enables your child to succeed. If needed, a therapist will visit your child’s school to see how he performs physically on stairs, in physical education class and during academic time. Treatment will include a home exercise program to enable your child to take the skills he learns in our facility and transfer them into his home and school environments.

Client Reviews (7)

My daughter who is now 1.5 years old and she started physical therapy when she was 6 months old and was discharged at 1 years old. We was reevaluated and needed therapy a few months later, and that’s when we met Marcy. She was very professional and compassionate towards my daughter. In the beginning hannah was very fearful of leaving my hands and had many meltdowns, a few weeks later hannah was eagerly jumping into Marcy hands. It only took a few months for hannah to come walking out to me in the office and it was a dream! Hannah is now meeting with devorah for speech and she’s absolutely great with it. I’ve recommend this place to friends and neighbors because hoe fantastic the staff and services are. Very highly impressed!


Our daughter saw Sarah Friedman in Glenview (now in Lincolnwood) for gross motor delay. Through our time with Sarah, she made tremendous progress. Sarah worked hard to keep our baby happy during sessions and cheered with us when she did her first roll and her first independent sitting session. We are so grateful for Sarah’s expertise and encouraging support. We still email her with questions and she happily responds. We highly recommend Sarah and the PT at NSPT!

Matt Galin

Flexible, professional and always encouraging our daughter to reach to levels at all times. Updated information on performance reviews and adjustments to therapy goals.


My son (now 4) has only been receiving physical therapy at North Shore Pediatric Therapy for about a month, but already we are seeing so much progress. My son took to his therapist immediately and so he views his sessions as a highlight of his week; his time to play with Miss Sarah is always a joy. He had trouble hopping, balancing, etc… and now he is gaining so much more strength and confidence in his own abilities. My son also has Type 1 Diabetes and I always know he is in good hands as Sarah is well versed in diabetes care and always asks about his blood sugar before his sessions. Thank you!

Jennifer N

Andrea is a wonderful Physical Therapist! Her work with our son is always engaging and fun for him. She is always very helpful with things we can do at home to help him improve and the exercises she does with him, he thinks are games, so he is more willing to do them more often. I’m so glad she is working with him, it is easy to see the improvements over a short period of time!