Developmental Milestones: The Journey to Independent Walking

Developmental Milestones: The Journey to Independent Walking

Our Team Members | Prayatna Child Development Centre - Anju Francis

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Anju Francis, MPT

The first step a child takes will be the proudest and most joyful moment in a parent’s life. However, parents start to worry if the child is not walking on their own by the time they turn a year old. Infants’ journey towards learning to walk is a fascinating one marked by important developmental milestones. This blog explores the chronology of when infants normally begin walking, the different developmental phases leading up to this achievement, and how parents and other adults can encourage and assist their young ones during this exciting stage of development.

The Timeline of Walking in Developmental  Milestones

Early motor skills

Every youngster learns about and investigates their surroundings through their movements. A child’s ability to move and execute tasks on their own, as well as to explore their surroundings, with the aid of their motor skills, encourages their cognitive, speech, and sensory development, helps them fulfill developmental milestones, and may even help prevent early motor impairments and other problems that could impede their development.

Pulling Up

Most babies learn to stand on their own between the ages of 9 and 12 months. It is common for it to occur even earlier—say, at 8 months. You don’t want them to lose their grip! Additionally, keep an eye out for any furniture that a baby might try to pull on and cause to tip over, such as a top-heavy chair or entertainment center.

What can you do to help your baby’s pullup stand? Make sure the baby has plenty of unstructured playtime, just like with sitting. Encourage your child to pull themselves up onto the couch cushion once they can play on it comfortably. A toy on the ground is a fantastic motivator. Encourage the infant by getting down on the ground with them. Inform your pediatrician if they are not pushing themselves to stand by the time they turn one.  It’s a good idea to check in with the doctor to make sure there isn’t anything else going on because it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong with them. After all, they might be almost there.


A baby may begin cruising at any time between the ages of 8 and 12. Make sure your infant has a clear path around the couch or coffee table to encourage cruising.  The better the assistance and space for maneuvering, the more successful they will be. Your infant will come upon dangers you were unaware of once they begin to cruise. Therefore, this is the ideal moment to baby-proof your home. To examine what your infant might grab or pull down when standing, strolling, and exploring, go down on their level.

Here are some actions you can take to keep your child safe.

  • Removal of electrical cords from reach
  • Protecting furniture with sharp corners and edges with corner and edge guards.
  • Bookcases and TVs should be fastened to the walls to prevent your kid from pulling them over.
  • Remove floor lamps from your baby’s line of sight.
  • Remove anything that you don’t want your infant to get into from low shelves, side tables, or coffee tables.
  • Install baby gates at the bottom and top of stairways to block off dangerous locations.

First Independent Steps

Every youngster achieves each milestone at a different pace. Every infant has a different developmental milestone timeline. Await your infants’ turn. When you start walking, everything changes! These significant gross motor milestones, from creeping and crawling to cruising and shuffling along (sometimes even backward), are the moments parents live for. Although it can occur as early as 8 months or as late as 15 months, most newborns take their first steps between the ages of 9 and 12 months.

Refining Skills

After taking their first steps, newborns rapidly gain confidence and skill as walkers. A kid can learn to walk by just practicing for a very long period. Give them the option to move about, then.

Factors Affecting the Onset of Walking


A baby’s ability to walk at a young age may depend on family history. If the child’s parents have experienced any walking delays, it is reasonable to anticipate that the child may also experience walking delays due to genetic or family influences.

Muscle Strength

 It’s important to build coordination and strength in your muscles. To walk on their own, a kid needs both lower limb and core muscle strength. Almost all babies are likely to achieve it by meeting the earlier developmental milestones.

Individual Variation

 Each baby develops at a different pace. Because every baby is unique, just wait for the best. Don’t compare your child to others; they are doing fine as it is.

Early Motor Activities

 Playing with newborns while they are on their stomachs, crawling, and reaching can help them develop their motor skills.

Supporting Your Infant’s Walking Journey

Safe Space: Establish a secure area with little risks for exploration. Their ability to walk and to explore more will grow.

Inspiration: Rejoice in each victory, from standing to taking those clumsy first steps. Encourage more walking from them. To make a youngster walk, utilize any appealing toys or child-favorite items.

Assisted Walking: To help babies when they walk, use push toys or other walking aids. Toys or push walkers will teach them to stand and move about.

Time in bare feet: Letting babies walk barefoot promotes balance and coordination. It will provide the brain with sensory information and aid in helping them comprehend and feel the ground they are walking on.

Handholding: Extending a finger as assistance fosters self-assurance. Keep them from relying on you. Adjust the level of help based on the child’s abilities. Encourage them to walk independently as the time is gradually reduced with assistance.

Positive reinforcement: It’s typical for kids to fall between the cracks. Encourage them to walk further. Babies are encouraged to try again with praise and encouragement. They will be delighted as well.

When to Seek Professional Advice

Every baby develops at their own pace, but if there are significant delays or concerns by 18 months, consult a pediatrician. If the baby is not standing independently even after one and a half years old, consult a developmental pediatrician and find the cause of the delay.

Common Myths and Realities

Myth: Walkers and jumpers speed up walking development.

Reality:  According to research, walkers don’t help a youngster develop in any way. They do not teach babies to walk or help them walk faster. Walkers can hinder a baby’s ability to pull themselves up, creep, and crawl. Babies in walkers tend to roll into heaters, stoves, and swimming pools. Babies using walkers are more likely to grab harmful objects (such as hot coffee cups and kitchen knives) or touch stovetops than they would be without them, which increases their risk of suffering burns and other accidents. Additionally, they run into obstacles or tumble-down steps. One of the most frequent injuries from walkers is falling downstairs. When infants fall, they may get significant head injuries as well as fractured bones.

Myth: Skipping crawling is a concern.

Reality: Some infants don’t learn to crawl and instead focus on other motor skills. Many infants never learn to crawl and grow normally. According to research, 4 to 15% of infants do not crawl on their hands and knees. Some people “army crawl” while on their stomachs, some people shuffle while on their bottoms, some people roll, and some people just start walking.


A critical period in a baby’s development occurs between rolling over and taking their first steps. Parents may confidently assist their babies in achieving this milestone by providing the ideal environment, encouragement, and support. Keep in mind that every falter, misstep, and successful step is evidence of the amazing process of learning and progress.  Walking is about making progress, putting in effort, and loving the journey rather than just getting somewhere. Every child has to learn how to walk all over again. As your infant begins a lifelong adventure of exploration and learning, cherish these early moments.

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