Infant Motor Skills Development - Six Months to One Year
Seven to Eight Months
The second six months of your infant's life are a time of increased motor skills and independence. (If your child is less than six months old, you can see the previous article to learn about their motor development skills.) In fact, in month seven, your infant should finally be able to sit without support! Even though she may lean forward and hold herself up with both hands, at least that leaves your hands free for other tasks. If you hold your infant in a standing position, she will support her weight, and she may even bounce on her toes. If she’s on her stomach, she may now be able to bear her weight on only one hand. That leaves her other hand free for playing. Therefore, you might find that she fights tummy time much less at this point.
At eight months, your baby should probably be able to sit well, and she can support herself while standing and holding on to furniture as well. She can pick up objects easily and will even release them if she wants to. As your baby's legs get stronger, you can encourage her to stand by placing interesting toys and objects on a chair or couch. She will want to stay standing so that she can explore the items. You can also try pulling her from lying down to standing, which will not only give her standing muscles a workout, but can also become a fun game that she'll enjoy!
Nine to Ten Months
By month nine, your baby may have begun crawling – or scooting on his bottom, or creeping like a soldier on his stomach. Although some babies never crawl at all, crawling is a milestone that many parents look forward to – and fear. Your baby will often be able to sit for a long period of time, which makes him more independent. He may also be able to pull himself from a sitting position to a standing position.
By ten months, your baby should be perfecting the art of falling. Instead of falling over, he will sometimes manage to fall flat on his bottom – ending up in a sitting position. And best of all, once he’s in that position, he’ll probably be able to catch himself if he feels himself toppling over. If you hold both his hands and help him “walk,” you may see him lift his foot to take a step.
If your baby doesn't craw often, put objects right out of his reach to encourage him to move toward them. If your baby hasn't started crawling at all, try placing your hands against the soles of his feet while he's on his stomach. When he wants to move, you might feel him press his feet against your palms - propelling himself forward! The excitement of finally moving may prompt him to try even harder, which will eventually help him learn to crawl.
Eleven to Twelve Months
Your baby is now a cruiser! She cruises – or walks while holding onto furniture. She can easily get from her back to her stomach to a sitting position to a standing position (with an object to support her), so she’ll seem much more mobile.
At twelve months, your baby may have started to stand on his own, and she may have even taken her first steps. While your baby is learning to walk, try helping her walk by holding one hand; you might be surprised at how ready she is for that big day. Alternatively, put two chairs just out of reach from each other, and set your baby down so that she is holding on to one of the chairs. If necessary, put a toy or another interesting object on the second chair, and try to convince her to take a step or two. Good luck! Watch out, world. Your baby is finally able to get around on his own, change positions easily, and play with toys semi-independently. She’s no longer an infant – she’s a toddler!
Please keep in mind, however, that this infant development time line of motor skills is just a guide. If you have any concerns, be sure to address them with your pediatrician. Infants develop at an individual pace, and your pediatrician will be able to identify any red flags or developmental delays.