Major motor skills

DevelopmentChildren in this age group should be able to sit independently on the floor for a period of 10–15 minutes. Often they can stand holding on to objects (e.g. coffee tables) for support, but cannot lower themselves. They will still take everything to their mouths.

Fine motor skills

Fine motor movements should allow them to poke at a small pellet-sized object with their index finger. Their grasp should have developed such that they now use their finger and thumb in a scissor fashion.


Children will often babble in long repetitive “strings” of syllables.

Vision and hearing

Children should demonstrate rapid localisation of quiet meaningful sounds.

Social achievements and play

If an object falls, children should now attempt to look for it. They should be able to chew and feed themselves a biscuit. They should also be able to distinguish between familiar faces and strangers.

When to be concerned

Speak to your doctor if a nine-month-old child:

  • Does not appear interested in activities around them;
  • Is not making eye contact or enjoying interaction;
  • Is persistently difficult to settle;
  • Seems anxious;
  • Is not vocalising or making any sounds; or
  • Does not appear to recognise their mother or close family.

More information

Developmental milestones in childhood For more information on developmental milestones in childhood, including recommended health check-ups and childhood immunisation, see Developmental Milestones.


  1. Sheridan M. Birth to Five Years: Children’s Developmental Progress (2nd edition). Australian Council for Educational Research; 1997.
  2. Parenting and Child Health: Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service. Child development: 0-3 months [online]. Adelaide: Government of South Australia. 11 September 2008 [cited 31 October 2008]. Available from URL: HealthTopics/ HealthTopicDetails.aspx? p=114&np=122&id=1963
  3. Slater A, Hocking I, Loose J. Theories and issues in child development. In: Slater A, Bremner G [eds]. An Introduction to Developmental Psychology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing; 2003, 34-63.