39 answers

When Should My Child Start Walking?

My child has been pretty right on when it comes to developmental gains, except walking. Maybe I am being crazy, but my son is now 13 months and every time I let go of his hands, he crys and sits down. Sometimes he lets me guide him by one hand, but he acts totally scared! All of my friend's kids walked at 1 or before. It appears to me that my son is not even working toward walking. Any suggestions? Or, anyone else relate? I am a teacher and I am always worrying about developmental delays! I know I shouldn't. Thanks for your help.

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I really appreciate all of the encouragement. I think you are all right. He is not interested or perhaps scared. It is funny that my husband is a dare devil and I am the timid scared one when it comes to taking a physical dare. He walks holding onto my hand (unsteady) but he loves to do that. I guess I should also be thankful that he is not running off yet! Ha ha. Thanks again everyone.

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When I went to school for early childhood education, I was taught that the normal range for walking is 8-18 months. In other words, do not worry until he is 18 months. My oldest son was 15 months and my nephew was 18 month.

I know a family who had 2 kids that didn't walk until they were about 2 years old. That was a decade ago, and they are fine today. Some kids just walk before others do. Don't push him at this age. 13 months is not delayed! Relax! Now, if he's still scared at 2 or 3, that's another issue. Just keep doing what you're doing and be glad he can't run away run yet!

My daughter didn't let go until she was 17 months. We tried physical therapy and everything (waste of time). She could do it, but she was afraid. She also has the vocabulary of a 4 year old at the age of 2. Don't worry so much, but let the doc know at 15 months if he still isn't walking, because that seems to be the age when most kids are already walking. By the time you're on kid #2, you will be more relaxed about these things!

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Is your baby by any chance an early talker???--- When a baby is working hard to master one skill- they will often refuse to '''work on''' a different skill --- AND - you are undoubetdly stressed about going back to work-- little ones KNOW - and react to your stress --- If your pediatrician is happy - I'd try really hard to relax--- my older two did not walk until 16 months or later- but they talked early-- my grandson walked at 10 months- but didn't speak til WAY later--- go figure

Blessings,
J.
aka- Old Mom

1 mom found this helpful

If you're worried, you can take him to the doctor and make sure that he doesn't have any problems with his legs that you can't see.

When I went to school for early childhood education, I was taught that the normal range for walking is 8-18 months. In other words, do not worry until he is 18 months. My oldest son was 15 months and my nephew was 18 month.

I know a family who had 2 kids that didn't walk until they were about 2 years old. That was a decade ago, and they are fine today. Some kids just walk before others do. Don't push him at this age. 13 months is not delayed! Relax! Now, if he's still scared at 2 or 3, that's another issue. Just keep doing what you're doing and be glad he can't run away run yet!

I wouldn't worry. They all develop SO differently. If I remember correctly, up until 18 months, it's not considered a problem to not be walking. My oldest walked at almost 14 months, youngest closer to 11 months. My niece just started walking around 14 or 15 months and as I recall, her older brother took at least that long if not longer.

Of course, you can always get an evaluation to rule out any physical issues, but a good pediatrician should be able to discuss this with you and provide good advise.

Good luck!
C.

Hi H., I know how you feel, I knew kids that started walking before 10 months, and I kind of grew up thinking kids walked by the time they turned 1. My first son started walking the day after his 1st birthday. My second son didn't start walking until around 14 months, and still preferred crawling until almost 16 months. Now (2 and 3) they are both great walkers/runners/climbers/jumpers. So I would just say don't worry too much and I'm sure he will start in the next couple of months. Good luck!

Hi H.,

My daughter didn't really walk until 16 months. Just to add to what the other Mamas have already said...Our pediatrician told me that she's noticed that babies who walk a little later tend to be more steady once they do walk. And that has been the case with our little one. She trips occasionally, but doesn't really have the big belly flops I've noticed with other beginning walkers.

Best wishes, and enjoy your little man!

My daughter didn't crawl until she was one, and walked at 18 months... and she's now eight, reading above her grade level, and happy, healthy, and perfectly fine.

My son walked at 7 months, and he's fine, too. Every kid is different.

My first son didn't start walking until he was 15 months, so I wouldn't be too concerned. I have a friend whose son just started walking at 15 months as well. Each child is different (though I relate to the concern since his twin sister was crawling and walking well before he was). I thought that he wouldn't even crawl for the longest time and didn't start crawling until he was 11 months - he was just taking it at his own pace.

Hope this helps ease your concerns.

Neither of my kids walked until 13 months late! They cruised around furniture for a long while before that but just could get themselves to let go!

My nephew CRAWLED on his first birthday! Your baby is right on schedule, don't worry. It seems like the majority of kids walk right around 1 year because all the parents with later walkers are shamed into silence because they think they or their babies are doing something wrong. The official developmental guidelines say that by 12 months a baby should walk with OR without help, and by 18 months should walk independently. My guess is that your baby is held back more by fear than ability, and one day will be so excited about something that he just forgets and walks away. This is how my daughter walked. Just be sure to give him plenty of places to practice pulling up and standing against things like the coffee table. One day, he'll just let go of it.

I think you are in totally normal ranges. Each child is different and I know it is hard not to compare yours with others. I was hard for me to even not compare my 3 boys, especially since they looked so much like each other at the same ages. I remember when my oldest was almost 1 and he still was barely speaking real words other than babble and my friends daughter had a 20 word vocab at 9 months, I was asking the dr about my concern. He was climbing on everything in the office and she told me that most kids are either verbal or motor oriented at first. He obviously was more interested in getting around and fast since he was walking at 10 months, but my friends daughter did not walk until almost 15 months. So she was obviously more verbal. I forget what the markers are, since it has been awhile, but it sounds like he is still right on and he just needs to have his confidence built up. If you dont have one already, get a toy that he can use as a walking support, we had a little riding fire truck with this arch on the back that they could hold onto. they went all over the house using that.

Don't worry about it. Neither one of my kids were walking by 13 months. Now it is all I can do to keep them in one place! Your son will probably perk up when he is in day care full-time because he will be wanting to keep up with his little friends.

H.,

Celebrate that he's not walking yet! Once he does he doesn't stop! :)

The average for walking is between one year and 18 months or so. Both of my kids walked early, but they had motivation in older cousins/sibling.

If you're really concerned call and talk to your doctor, but I wouldn't worry yet. Walking one year olds are sooooo overrated. I'm still wondering why I wanted mine to walk early.

Hope this helps,
M.

My daughter didn't walk by herself until she was about 15 months. Our pediatrician said not to worry and we didn't. She was creeping on furniture and doing other developmentally appropriate things. She was a really fast crawler and so I don't think she really saw a need for walking until she began to realize it was easier to carry things when walking than crawling. When she did start walking, she rarely fell and was really steady on her feet. I know it is hard to be patient, but he'll do it on his own time. As you know from being a teacher there is a WIDE range of 'normal' for children.

Don't worry too much about it my daughter didn't start walking until 15 months. She didn't even cruise or do any walking with us. She just literally got up one day and walked. She was also a early talker.

Kids seem to either walk really early or late - but what I noticed about her was she was able to stand from a sitting position where other kids who walked earlier had to pull themselves up and couldn't figure out how to do it. She just waited until she could do it all alone.

Also my aunt who was an educator said the longer you crawl the easier reading will be.

H.,

Don't worry, I have three children and all of mine were late walkers. My first was 14 months, my second was 15 months and my third child was 17 months!

Each of my kids did everyting else just fine. My two oldest are in grade school now and have top grades. My daughter is almost 4 and speaks like a 13 year old!

All kids do things in their own time, they can't excell at everything at once. It's hard not to, but try not to compare your child to others, it just causes you stress.

If he is doing okay with everything else there is no worry. But, if it still concerns you talk to your pediatrician.

Good luck. :)

Hi H.,
I'm a mom of 3 and each walked at different time, each within "normal" parameters and each at their own pace. My fist born walked at 13 1/2 months, my second at 10 months and my 3rd at 15 months. I was thrilled that my youngest baby didn't walk util 15 months because then I didn't have to chase after him all over the house, park, store, playdates, etc. Being on the late side of walking shouldn't worry you.
If you are concerned about gross motor skill development you should see your son's doc, but if it seems like everything is fine, take a deep breath and try to remember that even though it can be hard to not compare our kids (especially for these huge mile stones) all the kids really do reach the same level at age 4 or 5.

It seems to me that my son didn't walk until around 13-14 months old (he's 10, it's been a while!). And I know my niece wasn't walking at her first birthday... I want to say it was about 2 months later as well. I wouldn't worry. It's the perfect time for teaching him, but I would not be concerned at all that he's not doing it yet.
Some kids pick up on it early, but are usually a little unsteady on their feet at first. Other kids I think wait longer, but seem to just take off once they figure out they can. My niece and son both did this.

I wouldn't worry about it. I know some children don't walk until 16 months and they turned out just fine. My grandbaby didn't walk until he was 13 1/2 months.

N.
SAH Mom, Grandma, wellness coach

H.
Children walk when they are ready do not rush your little one they grow fast enough. My first one walked on her first birthday. The second took longer they were both with in the guidelines.
Take care
Paula

I was 16 months old myself. Just loved being held...now what's wrong with that?

Often, children work on one thing at a time. I bet he talks more than your friends' children who are that same age and already walk. And if not talking, maybe he's farther ahead in other areas like understanding object permanence or cause and affect. I wouldn't worry about it for another 2 or 3 months. If he's still not showing any signs of wanting to, you might mention it to his dr. In the meantime, enjoy your freedom of having a non-walker! LOL I don't even think it should be legal for children to walk before 15 mos. old! My youngest-the spitfire- walked at 8 mos. and I just wasn't ready for her to walk at that age and neither was my house!
Mary

In my PEPS group, only one out of about a dozen walked before one. The rest were right on track at about 12-13 months they could take steps holding hands, and at about 14-15 months they started taking off. I have noticed that some baby websites (babycenter, etc) write articles about development earlier than most babies mature at. My hunch is they need something to write about and so they start talking about each developmental stage a little too soon. You are TOTALLY in the range of normal!!!!

I wouldn't worry but enjoy this time;-) My son didn't walk till later either, perfectly normal. I also was told not to push it either but let them do it when they are ready.

My son is 16.5 months and just starting to show an interest in walking. I think walking can happen anytime between 8-9 months and almost 2 years. It doesn't seem to me that you have anything to worry about at this time. Walking is like potty training - each child starts when they are ready. If you are really concerned talk to your ped next time you have an appointment.

There is a wide range to normal! Let him learn on his own schedule, not yours. Don't compare him to others. The doctor will say something at his regular checkup if she is concerned -- not yet.

Hi H.,

Please do not worry! This is completely normal. I have two boys ages 3 and 5 and both of them did not walk until 16-17 months. Even though they were late walkers they are extremely verbal, smart and have amazing personalities. I know kids that walked at 7 months and some that were almost 18 months and they are all normal.

Enjoy this time because as soon as he walks your life will not be the same.

Best wishes,
JJ

Relax for now! If he's still not walking by his 15 month check up, talk to the pediatrician. My daughter was right on with her milestones and even ahead with the verbal ones and started walking at about 13.5 months. If he's ahead with other milestones at all, that probably explains why he's taking his time to walk. Generally, kids are quicker in some areas than others.

I know a lot of kids who didn't walk until they were 16 or so months. A friend's little girl didn't walk until she was 20 months!! She cruised the furniture, but she just wasn't ready to let go until then. She's now three and perfectly fine in her development. I wouldn't worry about keeping up with your friends' kids. Your son will walk when he's ready to do so and there's no sense in forcing him to do it, as if he's too scared he will be totally turned off. Walking at 12 months is actually fairly early still, so I wouldn't worry at all.

Relax - they all do things in their own time. I didn't walk until I was 17 months. My first child walked at 10 months. My second didn't even crawl until 2 weeks before his first birthday, and he walked at 14 months - but he could throw a spiral football across the room at 10 months. My youngest is almost 18 months and she is just now starting to walk intermittently. She could sit up at 2 months, scooted on her bottom by 6 months, but she has not been at all interested in walking. She's fine, doctor's aren't worried or anything, she just doesn't want to. I'm sure that your little guy is fine, and the other posts are right if they don't do one thing as quickly as others then he probably is farther ahead somewhere else.

My son didn't start walking until he was 17.5 months old. Medically, they don't start testing children for issues until they are 18 months and aren't walking. I've known some children who didn't walk until they were over 2 years old. They walk when their ready is what I've learned.

Hi H.,

My son was pretty similar, he was about 14 mo. before he walked. It seemed to take forever because he had a cousin who was a month younger than him who walked at 10 mo. It was frustrating! Just be patient he will walk at his own pace. If there is someone you can sit with on the floor and have him try to walk back and forth between the two of you. That is what my husband and I did and it seemed to help with his confidence. Good Luck!!!

Jen

Hi there! My daughter didn't walk til almost 15 months, and she's totally fine. If he's hit all the other developmental milestones, I'm sure he will be fine too. My daughter loved the little push toys she could walk behind; those encouraged her a bit. But mostly she just needed extra time! Enjoy your little guy!

Hi H.-

My son was a late walker. My daughter started walking just after her 1st birthday, so it was surprising to me when my son showed all the signs of readiness, but it wasn't happening. He just wasn't interested! In the end he was 17 months old before he really took off! At that point I was really getting concerned, too, however once he started walking he was running around like a pro within two days :). I have a good friend who experienced the same thing with her son. I think sometimes our little ones get scared, too. Whether it's fear of falling, or just the weird feeling of trying to balance without support, if you just remain patient and continue to work with him, he'll eventually get past it. I wouldn't worry too much (something hard not to do as a parent!)...especially if developmentally he's normal in every other area :).

Both of my kids started walking at 15 months. The normal range is between 12 and 15 months. Your little guy just isn't ready yet. He'll figure it out one day and then get your running shoes out.

My daughter didn't let go until she was 17 months. We tried physical therapy and everything (waste of time). She could do it, but she was afraid. She also has the vocabulary of a 4 year old at the age of 2. Don't worry so much, but let the doc know at 15 months if he still isn't walking, because that seems to be the age when most kids are already walking. By the time you're on kid #2, you will be more relaxed about these things!

My daughter didnt start walking until almost 18 months. It was so hard to wait as all of her other friends had been walking for MONTHS. She held my fingers and walked for about 2 months before she finally let go and took her own steps.

The flip side of taking so long is you dont have to chase them so much and there is not as much NO's as they are able to assess better what they should and shouldnt be getting into later on.

Just keep thinking positively and encouraging him. He will get there. Also keep in mind that this is just one of the milestones. He may be later at potty training etc. If you can learn to smile and be patient now, it helps at all of the next phases.... and they are all just phases!

good luck
D.

A bit late, but I wanted to add a couple of notes:

1) you are definitely still in the normal range of development

2) late walking runs in families--ask your parents and your husband's parents at what ages you and he walked. (My child started walking unassissted at 18 months, and a family survey indicated that most of my cousins as well as sibs were this late.) In fact, ours never *crawled* until after she had mastered walking!

3) our ped. wasn't worried but said if we liked, we could have a referral to a physical therapist. We weren't worried either, but since it wouldn't cost more than a co-pay (we're on Kaiser) we decided what the heck? And boy were we glad we did! Turned out nothing major was wrong, but our girl is very flat-footed, and the PT said that this was forcing her to work her whole body to maintain balance, and that therefore she would feel very unsure of weight-shifting activities like walking and stair-climbing. Our PT measured her for shoe inserts and they made a huge difference immediately. We have made subsequent visits every 6-8 months and each time the PT has been able to observe & give us some very basic body mechanics improvements that helped in one session. For example, pulling herself up wasn't happening because she was trying it from a very wide stance. Aligning her hips with her shoulders gave her better leverage for this.

4) the PT did say that our kid would take as much space between milestones as other kids, so they would likely all come late. "Getting" walking doesn't mean they will now catch up and start running & jumping with the others.

5) the pluses, as you noticed, are that you don't have to chase your kid around yet--running off or getting into things--and once he starts, he won't be having nearly as many crash landings as the early ones did.

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