I’m a child development expert and this is the age your child should be able to roll over, sit up, crawl and walk | The Sun

WHEN we become parents, we watch our children every single day to see what developments they're making.

But it can be easy to compare our babies to others, and start to get worried if they aren't quite up to the standard of another person's tot.

In fact, there are some specific ages your baby should be able to do certain things – these are called developmental milestones.

When should my baby be able to roll over?

"Your baby will probably be able to roll over from his front to his back when he's about five or six months, when his neck and arm muscles are strong enough," specialist health visitor Joanne Lewsley told BabyCentre.co.uk.

"He’ll then learn to roll from his back to his front from about six to seven months.

"All babies develop at different rates though.

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"Some babies manage to roll over as early as four months, whereas others may take longer."

If your child is taking longer to master rolling, there are several things you can do to encourage them.

Ensuring your baby has regular tummy time is a brilliant way to help them get used to different positions.

While some babies may not like tummy time at first, they'll soon get used to it, and it's recommended you try three to five minutes of tummy time, two to three times a day.

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It's also very important to make sure that your baby has a safe space in which to practise rolling over.

Never leave them unattended, especially on a higher surface such as a bed or changing table, as they could surprise you by suddenly mastering the roll.

If your baby hasn't mastered rolling over by the time they are seven months old, then it's worth mentioning to your health visitor, BabyCentre.co.uk adds.

However, bear in mind that if your baby was born prematurely, they may well take longer to reach different developmental milestones.

When should my baby be able to sit up?

Some babies sit up independently at just three months old, while others take until around nine months – it all depends on when they get head control mastered.

The majority of babies will be able to sit up by themselves by nine months old.

If you want to encourage your baby to sit independently, you can help by getting them to play on their tummy as much as possible.

When they're in this position, try lifting toys up above their head for them to look at – helping them master control of their head.

Also try to avoid helping them sit up by supporting them, as it's important that they don't become reliant on this support.

Instead, try and put "firm and sturdy toys in front of her to lean on", the experts at BabyCentre.co.uk advised.

It's also important to avoid putting your baby in any reclining position for a long period of time.

"It is important that your baby does not spend a long time in reclining carriers or seats that prop them in a sitting position," Tommys.org wrote on their website.

"This may mean that your baby will take longer to be able to sit up on their own."

If your baby hasn't mastered sitting independently by the time they are nine months old, it's a good idea to ask for advice from your health visitor or GP.

When should my baby be able to crawl?

Once again, this is different for every baby – some start at six months, while others take a little longer.

However, by your baby's first birthday, they should be crawling confidently and moving around to explore their surroundings.

"Not all babies follow the same pattern of sitting, crawling and then walking," specialist health visitor Joanne Lewsley wrote on BabyCentre.co.uk.

"Some babies never crawl and get around by bottom-shuffling instead.

"Other babies move directly to pulling up, standing and walking.

"It's getting mobile that's important, not how your baby does it."

Again, encouraging tummy time is vital if you want to help your baby master crawling.

"When your baby is three months to four months old, start introducing more tummy time on the floor," Joanne advised.

"Encourage them to push themselves up on their arms, as this action strengthens the muscles they need for crawling.

"Putting a favourite toy just out of reach in front of them or in a half circle around them is a good way of motivating them to move and reach."

She also suggested creating an "obstacle course" – out of pillows, sofa cushions and boxes – to help your child develop their agility.

It's also important to make sure that your house is safe for a crawling baby.

Make sure you've got stair gates on your stairs – as babies are always particularly attracted to stairs – and ensure that they aren't able to get into kitchen cupboards.

You don't need to worry about your baby not crawling unless they get to 18 months without managing it.

In that case, it's best to seek advice from your GP or health visitor.

When should my baby be able to walk?

Babies usually start standing between seven months and one year old, before moving on to "cruising" – where they go from place to place by holding onto furniture.

The majority of children will start walking sometime between the ages of 12 months and 17 months, although it's not a concern if they don't walk until they get to 18 months.

"Walking is complicated! It takes lots of balance, coordination and muscle power," Joanne explained.

"Your baby will need lots of practice and they'll be quite unsteady at first.

"Most babies make those early steps with their feet wide apart and toes turned inward or outward. They’ll probably fall over a lot too."

To help encourage your child to walk, you can get onto your knees and hold out your hands for them to hang on to as they stand up.

You can also put toys just out of reach on a low table or sofa to encourage them to pull themselves up and make their way over to it.

Keeping your baby barefoot is a good idea, so they get used to the feel of the ground beneath their feet – they don't need to wear shoes until they're a confident walker and walking outside.

Lots of experts don't recommend baby walkers, however.

"Although your baby looks like they're safely contained, they can be dangerous," Joanne warned.

"Your baby can move really quickly in one and they're also higher up, so they can reach things more easily.

"So falls, burns, scalds and poisoning accidents are more likely to happen in a baby walker."

Instead, why not try then with a toddle toy which they could push along while walking?

It's best to choose one with a wide base to ensure it's as stable as possible.

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Again, it's vital to make sure your house is safe for your child.

So make sure anything dangerous is out of their reach, fit your windows with safety catches and put corner protectors on any low tables to prevent any nasty head bumps.

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