From Crawling to Walking: How to Encourage Gross Motor Development in Infants and Toddlers

Gross motor development in infants and toddlers is a crucial part of their overall growth and development. Achieving motor milestones, such as crawling and walking, is essential for building strength, coordination, and balance. As trusted pediatric provider’s in Newnan, GA, The Childrens Clinic understands the significance of gross motor development and its impact on a child’s well-being. In this blog post, we will discuss tips and suggestions for parents on how to encourage gross motor development in their children, from crawling to walking.


The Importance of Gross Motor Development

Encouraging gross motor development in young children is essential, as it lays the foundation for their physical, cognitive, and social development, ultimately shaping their overall growth and well-being. According to KidsHealth, the exploration made possible by improved mobility enhances cognitive stimulation in young children, fostering their curiosity and understanding of the world around them.

Moreover, attaining motor milestones greatly impacts social skills, enabling children to actively engage with their peers and environment. Research has demonstrated that children who achieve age-appropriate motor milestones tend to demonstrate better language and cognitive skills later in childhood.


Developmental Milestones: From Crawling to Walking

The general timeline for babies going from crawling to walking can vary. However, here is a rough guideline for the typical progression of gross motor development:

  • Crawling: Most babies start crawling between 6 and 10 months of age. However, some babies may skip crawling and move straight to walking.
  • Cruising: Around 9 to 12 months, babies may begin to pull themselves up to a standing position while holding onto furniture or other support. This is called “cruising” because they move around by holding onto objects.
  • First Steps: Typically, babies take their first independent steps between 9 and 12 months, but some may begin walking as early as 8 months or as late as 16 months.
  • Walking Independently: Most babies can walk independently by 12 to 15 months. They may still be a bit unsteady or prefer to crawl for certain tasks, but their walking skills should continue to develop.

Remember, every child is unique, and the timeline for achieving these milestones can vary. Some babies may take longer to reach these stages, while others may progress more quickly. It’s essential to monitor your baby’s overall development and consult your pediatric provider if you have any concerns or questions.


Encouraging Gross Motor Development in Infants

Parents can implement these several tips and suggestions to promote crawling and other early motor skills. 

Creating a Safe Environment

Clearing the floor of hazards allows infants to freely explore and move around. Providing a designated play area with age-appropriate toys and equipment, such as play mats and soft climbers, encourages movement and exploration.

Tummy Time

Placing infants on their stomachs while they are awake and supervised helps strengthen their neck, shoulder, and core muscles. Starting with brief periods and gradually increasing the duration over time can optimize the benefits of tummy time.

Age-Appropriate Toys

Age-appropriate toys and activities that engage infants’ senses can also support their motor development. Toys that encourage reaching, grasping, and pulling, such as rattles and textured objects, help develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Interact With Your Little Ones

Additionally, providing opportunities for infants to interact with their caregivers and experience gentle movements, such as rocking or bouncing, can support the development of balance and coordination. 

Overall, creating a safe and stimulating environment, incorporating tummy time, and offering age-appropriate toys and activities are effective ways to encourage gross motor development in infants.

If you’re noticing delays in gross motor skills, the Childrens Clinic in Newnan, GA, is here to help. Let our pediatric providers guide your child’s growth. Schedule an appointment today!

Supporting Gross Motor Development in Toddlers

Parents can implement several tips and suggestions to encourage walking and further motor development.

Outdoor Play

Firstly, outdoor play offers a multitude of benefits, such as providing opportunities for unstructured movement, exploration, and physical activity. Encouraging running, climbing, jumping, and playing games that involve physical activity can promote balance, coordination, and strength.

Age-Appropriate Toys

Providing a variety of toys and activities that promote gross motor development, such as ride-on toys, balls, and climbing equipment, can help toddlers practice and further develop their motor skills. Adding challenges, such as obstacle courses, can make such activities more engaging and stimulating, keeping them interested and motivated.

Common Concerns

Common concerns or challenges parents may face during this stage include fear of falling or reluctance to try new activities. Addressing these concerns can be achieved by creating a supportive and safe environment for toddlers to explore and practice their skills. Encouraging and praising efforts and celebrating successes can also boost their confidence and motivation to develop their motor skills further. 

Overall, supporting gross motor development in toddlers can promote physical health, confidence, and independence and foster their overall growth and development. 

Schedule An Appointment With Our Pediatric Providers Today!

In conclusion, gross motor development helps our little ones physically, mentally, and socially develop. We’ve emphasized the significance of creating a safe and stimulating environment, incorporating tummy time, and providing age-appropriate toys and activities. Additionally, we’ve encouraged parents to actively participate in their child’s development and seek professional guidance from trusted pediatric providers, like Childrens Clinic in Newnan, GA. Contact us today!