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Babies and Motor Skills

Let’s Move!

Somewhere between six and nine months of age, your baby is going to figure out how to get around. He might roll around, scoot (backwards or forwards), slither, crawl, or “cruising” by walking around and holding onto the furniture. Whatever strategy he chooses is fine.

Your baby may never decide to crawl. No worries. He may go from sitting to standing to walking. Crawling is so variable among babies that it is not even a milestone on the standard developmental checklists. Don’t be alarmed if your baby bypasses this step. And, no, it won’t make him incapable of learning math. That’s an urban legend.

We just want to know that your baby can move, however he chooses to accomplish it. His should be able to plan to reach his destination and have the strength and large muscle skills to accomplish the goal.

Red flags:
1. Your six month old cannot sit up, even with assistance.
2. Your six month old can sit up, but does not bear weight on his legs when standing.
3. Your nine month old can sit up, but does not move anywhere.
4. Your nine month old clearly favors one arm and one leg when trying to scoot or crawl.
5. Your nine month old cannot get from a lying down to a sitting position, or a sitting position to a standing position.

If you notice any of these red flags, tell your baby’s healthcare provider. It’s better to get a concern checked out sooner rather than later. If your child does have a developmental delay, he can work on catching up with the assistance of a specialist, like a physical therapist.

Although it depends on the underlying cause, many kids do catch up to their peers when they receive early intervention.

What can you do to encourage your baby’s skills? Give him a safe environment to move around. Offer a toy that is out of reach so he has to move to go and get it. Or, take his hands and “walk” with him to test out his sea legs.

By the way, only 50% of babies are walking at one year of age. That means 50% are not—so no worries. About 90% of babies are walking at 15 months of age.