1 Year Old Not Walking or Standing

Q&A: 1 Year Old Not Walking

Tamara GuoChild Development, Walking

blockquote_bgMy son just turned one. I’m concerned about his gross motor skills. He crawls and can sit up on his own but he doesn’t pull himself up to the standing position. Nor does he attempt to walk. He’s perfectly happy just crawling places. He also did the army crawl for the longest time until switching to a regular all fours crawl. He can bear weight on his legs. I know this because I pull him up to the stand position and he’ll stand up holding the sofa or a large toy. But he won’t stand for very long and just go back down on his bottom to sit. Is there anything I can do to encourage walking? Although he does get frustrated when I try to make him walk and he’s just not into it. Should I be concerned?


It is not overly concerning that a child of 12 months is not yet pulling up to stand or walking independently yet, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to contact your local early intervention agency for a physical therapy evaluation just to rule out any concerns. Since he is crawling reciprocally & can bear weight on both legs and stand if you place him in a standing position, those are all good skills. Pulling to stand requires upper body and trunk strength, as well as leg strength. I would suggest using a low, sturdy cardboard box or similar piece of furniture that when he stands against it will be at about armpit height. Many children have difficulty getting into a kneeling and then 1/2 kneeling position in order to pull up to stand. I’d suggest helping him into a tall kneeling position to play at the box or furniture and then gently help him ease one leg out into a half kneel and help push him up into a standing position (do this to the left and right sides).

Once he gets the hang of pulling up into a half kneel, you can place toys just a bit out of reach to the left and right sides to help encourage him to cruise side to side. You can also encourage him to tall kneel and knee walk or help him pull to stand and walk behind a sturdy push toy (you can fill a laundry basket with books to make it steady to push or use a weighted down umbrella stroller, etc). You can put overalls on him and hold onto the straps from above while encouraging him to take steps. You can also kneel in front of him and hold a broom handle (or similar item with a long handle) in a horizontal direction and encourage him to hold on and take steps towards you as you slowly knee walk backwards.