By Elizabeth Pantley
Lots of parents ask, “When should my baby walk?”. They compare their child to others of a similar age and worry something is wrong. But “should” is a word that we should outlaw when it comes to babies and their development! The important milestones in a baby’s life – such as walking and talking – occur at completely different times for each baby. Parents tend to worry themselves sick if their babies don’t adhere to a chart that tells them when their baby “should” reach a particular milestone. Independent walking, like many other milestones, has a wide range of normal. Some babies begin to walk at 10 months, and others wait until they are 18 months old or even longer – and it’s all perfectly normal.
WALKING AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT
What’s most important in regards to your baby’s physical development is a forward progression of skills.
When you take your baby in for regular well-baby checkups, you will be asked about your baby’s emerging skills.
While babies have their own unique ways of approaching the physical milestones that lead to walking (and some are known to skip some steps completely), this is the common process of progression of physical development from birth to walking:
- Holds up head
- Lifts head, shoulders, and upper body when lying on tummy
- Rolls over
- Sits with support
- Sits unsupported
- Moves self around on the floor (rolling, squirming, scooting)
- Stands when supported
- Crawls, or finds some other method of moving from place to place
- Pulls up to a stand
- Cruises by holding on to furniture
- Walks with hand-holding support
- Walks independently
WHY DO BABIES WALK WHEN THEY DO?
A baby who is a proficient crawler may be so satisfied with their ability to get around that they don’t even try to walk. A content and quiet baby may be much more interested in developing their small motor skills than walking. A chatterbox may be expending so much energy talking that there isn’t any left for walking. A happy in-arms baby may so enjoy being toted around by family members that there is no rush to get on the floor and go. These are just a few of the possible reasons a baby may wait until they are a little older to begin walking.