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By Katie Shroyer PT, DPT, CBIS TEIS Physical Therapist
All children develop and grow at their own rates. Current research gives a range of when typically developing children achieve their gross motor milestones. Baby books and pediatricians will tell you that your baby will probably be walking independently somewhere between 10-15 months, but some children even walk later at 18 months and still fall within normal ranges. A great way to see if your child is on the right track is to check for these 5 signs that walking may be in their imminent future.
5 signs your child will be walking soon:
- Pulling to Stand – When a child begins pulling up into standing using hands or stable furniture, he is strengthening his legs to prepare them for walking. The mature form of pulling to stand is to perform it through a half-kneeling position.
- Cruising – Cruising is defined as walking while holding onto furniture. Cruising allows your child to practice weight shifting and forward progression in a safe environment.
- Crawling onto and over Furniture – As a child becomes stronger throughout his core and extremities, you may find him starting to climb onto furniture or crawl over obstacles. These are all signs that your child is developing the muscle strength and balance needed to walk independently.
- Walking with Push-Toy/Handheld Assistance – The added stability of walking while holding onto a push-toy or a parent’s hands helps children develop the confidence needed to take those first independent steps. Some children may use this as a crutch, so be sure to provide as little support as needed (2 handheld assistance>1 handheld assistance> holding onto sleeve of shirt>holding blanket between child and parent).
- Standing Independently – Children begin to let go of objects while standing when they feel confident and stable. The longer the child is able to stand, the greater his confidence is. A bonus is if the child is able to get into or out-of this position with control by himself.
If your child has not begun demonstrating any of the above skills by 12-14 months of age, he may benefit from a physical therapy evaluation.