Child Development: When Will Baby Have Hand-Eye Coordination?

Plus, what you can expect before your baby reaches this important developmental milestone.


While your newborn's intermittently crossed eyes may be reminiscent of a Siamese cat, rest assured that this lack of muscle control is completely normal. "Newborns aren't able to see clearly much farther than about arm's length away, and their eyes will often cross as they try to focus on objects," explains heather Burrows, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatrician in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan.

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By about 4 months of age, your baby's vision will improve to the point that he can see clearly beyond this point; it’s also about this time that he'll come to realize that his hands are not only attached to his body, but that he can control them. In other words, he'll start demonstrating hand-eye coordination.

Expect your tot to spy and grab larger objects first—"your glasses, maybe a toy," Burrows says—moving on to increasingly smaller objects as his vision and motor skills become more refined. "By about 12 months, he should be picking up little things with his fingers, like Cheerios, and putting them in his mouth," she adds.

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Another important point: Your baby should be able to bring his hands together and reach across the center of his body by about 6 months of age. And notice that we say "about" in reference to all of these timelines; that's because milestones can vary from child to child. "Still, if you're concerned about your child's development in any way, talk to your pediatrician," Burrows advises.