Baby's Motor Development: From Rolling Over to First Steps
Baby's reflexes and motor skills in the first 12 months—and beyond
Pushing and Crawling
Usually by six months your baby can push up on his hands and knees. This is the beginning of crawling. It’s amazing to see baby strengthening his muscles and eventually mastering the ability to move around. Some babies will not crawl the typical way, and that’s perfectly fine. Your baby may crawl sideways, backwards, or even with one knee up: It’s all part of baby’s way of finding the best way for him to move around.
Keep in mind, though: Some children never crawl but go directly to walking. This is totally normal, but if you’re concerned, talk to your pediatrician.
Before a child walks, she will master the ability to pull up to a standing position. Some babies stand by seven months, while others take their time and hit this milestone at around one year. Once your baby can stand, it’s important to pad or move any furniture with sharp edges. Chances are, your baby will be pulling up on tables and chairs, too, so make sure that nothing heavy can fall on top of your child.
When will your child walk? This is a question so many new parents ask. Generally, most babies begin walking between eleven months and a year and a half. Before a baby walks independently he will “cruise” along the furniture, holding on. Regardless of how many falls occur from letting go, your child will continue to try and try. This is exciting, and your baby will feel so proud when he finally takes steps!
Some parents will try to encourage their babies to walk by purchasing a “baby walker” with wheels. These walkers do nothing to contribute or expedite your child’s ability to walk. In fact, when Baby is in a walker, the parts of his body he needs to walk (the hips and torso) are constricted. And, walkers on wheels can be dangerous. Many injuries occur when babies fall down steps or grab for things they otherwise couldn’t reach. Walkers only give babies mobility and height that they are not ready to handle. Read on for more expert advice on the dangers of walkers.
Ways to Encourage Physical Development
|Activities for Physical Development|
|Roll Over||Lay your baby on his back. Hold a toy over him and encourage him to reach for it. Once he is reaching for it, slowly move the toy across his body, so he is reaching further, eventually rolling over.|
|Reaching/Grabbing||*Babies love to look at themselves in the mirror. Hold your baby in front of a mirror and reach out and touch the reflection. Your baby will eventually copy your movement.
*Bouncy seats often come with a toy bar that infants love to reach and touch. You can find toy bars that will attach to the car seat and stroller too. All of these encourage babies to reach, touch and eventually grab and hold on to an object.
|Sitting||Hold your baby’s hands and pull her to a sitting position. Try this while your baby is on your lap, singing songs and rocking.|
|Pushing Up on Hands and Knees||Give your baby plenty of time on his tummy to move around and practice getting up on his hands and knees. Put toys around him so he needs to reach for them. Sometimes, rolling up a blanket and laying your baby over the blanket can give enough height to encourage your baby to push up.|
|Crawling||Get down on your hands and knees with your baby. Talk, sing and crawl around the floor, encouraging your child to follow.|
|Walking|| *You and another person kneel on the floor and encourage your baby to walk between the two of you.
*There are some wonderful walking toys available that allow a child to push the toy and hold on for support.
*Remember the timetables given in this article are just a guide. As you’re considering your child’s development, keep in mind that all babies are unique. Whether your baby reaches milestones early or late, he has his own developmental path to follow. The dividing lines between these months are very fuzzy. If you have any concerns or questions about your baby’s development, please check with his healthcare provider.
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