24 answers

18 Month Old Not Walking

Hi Ladies. Okay, so my 18 month old is not yet walking on her own. She'll cruise all around the house holding on to furniture and walls, she'll walk holding on to our hands. She'll even take a few steps unassisted, but that's it! Just last week she figured out how to stand up on her own (no holding on to mommy, daddy or furniture) and sit down from standing. So now,if she doesn't want to walk (which is most of the time) she just sits down. She crawls great (its amazing how much ground they can cover on all fours isn't it?) but was a late crawler too (she crawled at 14 months). We took her to a PT when she was 12 mo and not crawling and they said there was nothing wrong with her - just maybe some muscle weakness. Anyone have any experience with a late walker? What can I do to encourage my little one to walk? She will not push a push toy or pull a pull toy - tried that already :-). Any other ideas?

Thanks in Advance!
J.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of your responses. This is great advice (especially the part about not stressing about it - I'm gonna do my best :-) and I can't tell you how comforting to know that there have been and are lots of kids out there who didn't walk until 18, 20, 22+ months and turned out just fine. I'm going to try all of the tactics mentioned - with a lot of love and patience and chillin out too :-). Thanks everyone!

Featured Answers

I know how you feel my little one didn't walk until after 18 months. Mine wouldn't use any of the push/pull toys nor would she cruise. I had her in PT for 2 1/2 months and I think it came down to will. She wasn't ready and didn't want to. It is so frustrating listening to all the comments you get both positive and negative. I remember them all.

The best advice and knowledge we learned from PT was working on up and down skills. Toys/games that build and strengthen the muscles in their legs. Find a toy or game that makes them bend/squat then stand back up. Picking a ball up off the ground and putting it in something up high. I think this really helped. Also don't let them sit in the W position with their legs behind them. This is bad on their hips and will effect growth eventually. Good Luck!

Hi J.,

My little man chose to not walk until he was 22 motnhs old. When he finally started walking he started running and jumping within 2 months. He just plain old wasn't interested. He rolled everywhere for a long time and also started crawling late. He was just a very laid back baby and wasn't worried about getting around. He is an incredible talker and I believe he was just concentrating on things a bit backwards from most kids.

Don't worry, she will walk and then be ready cause she won't ever slow down! lol

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Hi J., I know what you are going through, both of my children started walking and crawling late. My Daughter started right before she turned 2 and it was so frustrating but when she was ready she took off.I took her to PT as well and they said everything was fine so they showed me a few things to do with her. I sat on the floor with my brother at one end and we had her walk to us and then I slowly moved back so that way she had to walk farther and we just kept doing that til she felt like she could do it on her own, it took a little while but we kept doing it everyday. Then on Mothers Day she took off walking on her own, it was the best Mothers Day gift ever. Dont give up some kids just arent ready when we are so they do it when they want. Just keep on trying. Good Luck and God Bless.

E.

I know how you feel my little one didn't walk until after 18 months. Mine wouldn't use any of the push/pull toys nor would she cruise. I had her in PT for 2 1/2 months and I think it came down to will. She wasn't ready and didn't want to. It is so frustrating listening to all the comments you get both positive and negative. I remember them all.

The best advice and knowledge we learned from PT was working on up and down skills. Toys/games that build and strengthen the muscles in their legs. Find a toy or game that makes them bend/squat then stand back up. Picking a ball up off the ground and putting it in something up high. I think this really helped. Also don't let them sit in the W position with their legs behind them. This is bad on their hips and will effect growth eventually. Good Luck!

J.,
My daughter (who was the oldest) wasn't walking on her own at 18 months also. I remember worrying about it. I did encourage her. Now that she is an adult it seems like such a small thing. One thing about my daughter was that she was having ear infections and I believe that affected her sense of balance. How is your daughters inner ears?
With my whole heart,
C.

Hi J.,

My little man chose to not walk until he was 22 motnhs old. When he finally started walking he started running and jumping within 2 months. He just plain old wasn't interested. He rolled everywhere for a long time and also started crawling late. He was just a very laid back baby and wasn't worried about getting around. He is an incredible talker and I believe he was just concentrating on things a bit backwards from most kids.

Don't worry, she will walk and then be ready cause she won't ever slow down! lol

Have you tried a walker (maybe the old kind that used to actually walk around) or something like a johhny jump up to help make her legs stronger, or maybe get one of those little ride around toys that they sit on and use their legs to push themselves around. I didn't have issues with a late walker, but those things might strengthen her muscles and encourage her to walk.

My 19mth old just started walking. She didnt crawl until she was almost 11mths and started pulling up around 1 yr. At 18mth she started taking a few steps when motivated but still didnt seem very interested. I made an appt with BabyNet to get her free PT but within a week- she started walking all over the place. I canceled her appt. and now 2 wks later, she is like a professional. I was really worried something was wrong but she did it when she was ready. Its amazing how fast she started walking and actually got good at it. She can already pick up something off the floor and start going again. I know how it feels to wonder when and if it will happen but it had to be on her terms. She is a very vocal child, saying over 50 words, and her dr. said toddlers who tend to be more vocal are less physical in these months. Hope this helps others in my recent situation!!

J.,

You are her mother. Your instincts are far more valuable than any doctors opinion because you observe your daughter on a daily basis and are in a position to notice even the minutest change in her behavior. If there is nothing that has changed in her behavior to give you alarm then you should not worry yourself over how she develops. Every child develops differently and at different times. I have four children and all have been very different in what they develop and when. You should not expect your child to develop according to a percentile average based on accumulated research from thousands of children. Your daughter is sound of mind and body. When was the last time you heard about a child as such not learning to walk, crawl, stand, sit, talk, roll over, read or grow in any other physical or mental way? Give your child time and enjoy the stages she is going through as she goes through them no matter what age she is at. If you spend all of your time worrying, because she is not developing according to what the doctor says she should be, you will miss a lot of the many enjoyable moments that will pass as she develops -- and once they are gone they don't come back. Enjoy your daughter. Enjoy your motherhood. It all passes so quickly, don't leave yourself wishing you could go back and change it when she is older because you missed what was happening then due to worry and anxiety.

Hello! I understand what you are going through. My oldest was the same way. She didn't even get up and think about crawling until after she was 1 and as for walking, HAH. That took forever. We tried every advice we got and even had a doctor tell me it was my fault for carrying her around to much. Thing was I didn't hardly carry her around I was too pregnant with my second child and couldn't without causing me pain. She eventually did do it on her own. But like with everything she is gonna take her own sweet time. I basically kept encouraging her and rewarding her with praise every time she tried even a little bit. It didn't make her walk any faster that I know of but it sure helped me at times :) I hope this helps :)
T.
P.S. She is 5 years old now and walks, jumps and runs just fine

You've got lots of great responses! My son was over 18 mos. old when he finally started walking. Our pediatrician referred us to Child Find/Developmental Pathways and they did a full evaluation of his development, all for FREE. They had him visit with a PT for a few times and we have since determined that he has extra flat feet and he therefore had some balance issues which discouraged him to want to be on two feet. He has been to an orthetist at Children's for shoe inserts and is good to go. As the mom, you probably have a gut feeling about whether there is something fundamentally wrong or if it is a battle of will. I would work on balance exercises, up and down the stairs walking, tricycle, and other such activities to strengthen legs and work on balance. If you feel your child could benefit from further evaluation for different opinions, then get in touch with Child Find. It's through the public school system and paid for by tax dollars. They were so helpful and friendly and didn't make me feel like I was just looking for something to be wrong with my kid. In the end, I think it was a mix between being a bit lazy and some imbalance. Good luck!

Hi J.,
I don't have any great advice about getting your 18 month old to walk. But want to encourage you to hang in there. My middle son, who is now 5, didn't crawl til almost 11 months and didn't walk until almost 18 months. He wouldn't even stand or cruise around furniture for a long time. Then one day he decided it was time. He is my sturdiest child, a great runner and climber. I was worried, needless to say, when he wasn't walking. But he's had great balance and less falls than my other 2 who both walked at 13 months. If she's cruising around furniture and standing on her own, I bet she'll take off on her own any time. Be patient and encourage her as much as you can. Keep us posted on how she (and you) are doing! C. M.

If you are concerned, ask your ped again. A friend had a daughter that wasn't walking at 18 months, and it turned out that she had tendons in her ankles that were not strong enough yet (turns out to be a common problem) and a couple inserts in her shoes had her walking within a few weeks. It was a really simple fix and reassured her parents that there weren't any major problems.

I am in the exact same boat. My little guy is turning 18 months later this week and he's still in the cruising stage. He crawled a bit late as well (around 11 months) and I too am worried. Friends and our nanny (25 years of childcare experience) tell us that there's no need for us to worry because he's developing well otherwise. Actually, he talks very clearly with some level of sophistication (he told me several months ago that he wanted toast and jelly for breakfast- funny, huh?). So, I guess that would be my question. Is your daughter developing well otherwise? If yes, then it seems that your daughter and my son may just be on the outer edge of normal in this area. I plan to take our son to the pediatrician for his 18 month check up, though, and ask his thoughts about our situation. Good luck to you! It sounds like you're a great mom. Keep up the good work!

My son (now 22) didn't walk until he was 19 months old, he crawled at 12 months. The Dr's had us all worried, and ran a bunch of unnecessary tests, but I knew he would walk when he was ready. We worked a lot with him to strengthen his leg muscles. But other than that we were just patient. Before you know it she'll be running and you won't be able to keep up with her :)

My two older kids were both late movers. My oldest didn't walk until 17.5 months. In order to get her going, we finally had to trick her by giving her some kind of stick (like an unsharpened pencil or crayons or something) to hold on to in each hand and then let her start walking thinking she was holding on to us. We would frequently do that while trying to coax her to walk between us.

The same thing started happening with my son, but he wanted to keep up with his big sister so desperately that he finally was up and around by 15.5 months. We're waiting to see how baby #3 goes. She's 11 months now and she just started crawling a few weeks ago.

Good luck!

We haven't had late walkers. Well, my sister did, but I wasn't around my nephew at the time, so I don't know the details. I do know that he is amazingly athletic at age 7. One of his favorite past-times is kicking a soccer ball over their two-story house!
But we did have an unmotivated walker. Our first son was only 9 months old when he could walk with the assistance of my pinky only. But he just wouldn't do it! For two more months, he absolutely refused to try. He was just a little chicken. I caught him playing in the pantry, with a jello box in each hand, standing all by himself. But if I cheered for him and pointed out that he was standing, he'd freak out, drop what he was holding, and get down as fast as he could.
Whatever the reason your daughter isn't walking, this might help. We were actually at Grandma's house. Grandma and Grandpa were on one side of the family room, sitting in some chairs, and Daddy and Mommy were across from them on the couch. I helped him walk across the room to grandma. There was much cheering, so he tried to come back. Much cheering! Back again, Much cheering! And by cheering, I man that we did a cheer. A real football cheerleader cheer. He thought it was so funny that he could make a bunch of grown ups do something so silly, so he kept doing it.
We knew he could already do it, so we did a pretty big distance. You will probably have to start a little closer. And maybe you already tried that.
Good luck!

All I can say is just wait. Kids are stubborn and will do it in their own time. My son didn't start walking on his own until he was about 18.5 months old even though we knew he could. It was just stubbornness. I did all kinds of research on helping, and the end result with most was to just keep encouraging and let them do it in their own time.

I used to be a preschool teacher. I had a little boy in one of my classes years ago who didn't walk until almost 20 months. He just utterly refused to try. If we tried to stand him up, he would do a complete split to avoid having to put his onw weight on his legs. He eventually started walking and at last check, was developing into a perfectly normal little boy.

If your daughter is able to do it, I would worry too much. You've got to remember that in her mind, why would she try to walk when crawling is so much faster and easier. Enjoy the crawling days, because when she does start walking, you're going to miss that cute baby zipping around on all fours.

I say be happy about it because my son started crawling at 6 months and walking at 9 months and gets into anything and everything.

My son didn't walk until he was 14 months. What got him going was being around his cousins that could all walk and wanting to keep up.

Good luck.

She's making visible, recent progress. Please relax. This is all normal.

Take heart! Studies show a correlation between kids who crawl for a long time and good readers! She'll walk when she's ready!!!

If there is be nothing physically wrong with your daughter, I do have a trick that worked with my daughter. She had major development issues and didn't walk until she was 3. What the PT had me do was put a large, soft, rope around her waist, tie it so it did not slip, leaving a trailing end. I then had her take hold of the rope close to her waist, then I held the end with one hand. This gave her security from her own body and from my arm without her actually touching me. As we worked with her I let my end drape between us and get longer, soon she was using the tention between her hand and her waist for support, then I just let the rope hang with no support on my end. It didn't take her long before she didn't need the rope at all. It just gave her security without having to depend on me. She could actually go up and down stairs holding onto the railing before she walked on her own.

Try one of those kiddie grocery carts that you can buy with all the toy food. Put her favorite doll or stuffed animal in the little seat, I bet she won't be able to resist pushing it. She'll have to stand up to fill up the cart too!

All kids go at their own pace. My daughter was a late crawler too and wasn't walking until almost 15 mos. My son on the other hand was going strong at 11 mos.
Your daughter sounds like she is on the right track, just be patient, once she decides she wants to do it she will fly! :)
Then it is straight to running!
Some kids just do things at a different stage then others, I am sure she is fine.
Just set her on her feet as often as you can when at home. She will do it when she is ready!!! :)

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