Motor Development in Children 6-12 Months Old

In another post, we have gone through a glimpse of the motor development in children between birth and six months old reaching certain milestones before walking on both feet. We, now, continue for up to twelve months, which is the average age to start independently walking.

A quick reminder of the skills that a six month old child should have acquired. Your child is now more mobile and skilled in all positions (on the ground, stomach, back, and side) and can easily change from one position to another. He/she is also able to maintain the sitting position but under supervision because he/she cannot maintain sitting balance sideways or backwards. He/she slowly becomes familiar with the feeling of the ground under his/her feet when you hold him up but does not stand alone or with support.

During the seventh month, the child is very active and likes to play in several positions ; therefore, he/she does not stay in the same position for a long time. On the stomach, the child is able to put a lot of weight on their arms to push the chest away from the ground. The child can also stand with one hand and free the other to play in the front or on the side. The child also starts to travel by crawling on the ground. Overtime, the child  perfects the techniques and can throw with one hand and push with the opposite leg equally alternating the two sides. He/she tries to push the buttocks up to take the 4-legged position without advancing as well. The child improves the transitions of movements and starts to sit alone on 4 limbs. He/she tries to throw himself with his arms in a standing position, using the furniture’s support.

When the child reaches the eighth month, he/she no longer holds up to play. The child crawls or initiates 4-limb movements. If the child plays seated, he/she is stable enough to turn around and catch the toys on the sides, regardless of the legs’ position. If the child falls to the side, he/she is able to protect him/herself by holding with the hand. The child starts to pull him/herself to the kneeling position and pulls on the furniture to get up. In this standing position, the hands support of is still essential to keep the balance, he/she also keeps the feet very wide and buttocks out to stay stable. He/she walks slowly along the furniture when he/she is more stable on their legs. In the ninth month, the child reaches other milestones. He/she walks easily on 4 legs and tries to climb small benches or stairs, he/she will be unable to come down alone. The child will be more stable standing with support on a piece of furniture and to move aside.

The tenth month is associated with a variety and harmony of movements. All positions are then possible, the child is completely independent for his/her transfers of positions on the ground, he/she sits up alone of the lying down position and on 4 legs and when he/she plays sitting, the child is able to stay upright with the hand in all directions. The child’s standing posture with support is upright, he/she stands better on the legs with feet less apart, he/she straightens the trunk and hips and moves with greater ease along the furniture. The child walks robotically with you when you hold him/her by both hands. Pay attention to the way the feet are laid on the ground. If they are pointed and your child does not drop the heel, then it is too early to do this walking activity with him/her.

During the eleventh and then the twelfth month, the stages gradually merge. Your child starts to sit on small benches and is able to go down alone. He/she plays in the squatting position and gets up without using the arms. The child’s favorite playing position becomes the standing position where he/she is able to play with both hands without support. Eventually, near the 1 year mark, your child starts walking independently with arms raised on the sides and feet placed in wide base to ensure stability. His/her balance is precarious, but as the weeks go by, they develop their ability to maintain their balance. As you approach the thirteenth month, the child becomes confident and his/her walking posture is less fixed and closer to your walking posture. It is normal to see that his/her feet are slumped to the ground. His/her plantar arch will gradually form to stand and walk. This will not stop the child from picking up speed and wanting to start running a bit. If you want to get in shape, your little one will be the first reason to start running again, because it will not let you rest!

We wish to have provided you with relevant and useful information for your child’s motor development and walking acquisition. Do not hesitate to contact us if you are still wondering about your child and its development.


Sabrina Perron-Singh Pht M.Sc

Expert in pediatric physiotherapy

Boisbriand Physiotherapy Clinic