Now that your baby is 9-12 months old, she is ready to be on the move. Crawling, walking, and even running are right around the corner! At this age, she is developing more advanced movements in three areas of controlled movement: stability (balance and posture), locomotion (the ability to move forward and backward), and manipulation (manual dexterity). The better she gains control over these areas of movement, the better she will be able to control her body so that she may walk and run on her own! That’s why it’s important to make sure she gets plenty of practice moving every day!1,2,3
How can you improve your child’s Controlled Movement Skills?
- Encourage her to crawl. Crawling creates brain connections and develops coordination. During tummy time, you can encourage your child to crawl by placing interesting objects just out of reach so that she must scoot and crawl towards them. If your child seems to be skipping over the crawling phase, consider talking to your pediatrician for advice on how to encourage crawling.
- Give her safe areas to pull up and cruise. At 9-12 months old, your baby is now strong enough to pull herself up into a standing position by grasping onto low tables and chairs. Soon, she will be able to use these pieces of furniture to cruise (walk with support) and increase leg strength.4,5
- Let her play in new and interesting locations. Encourage her to move by giving her safe places to explore. Place her in an empty bathtub lined with a non-slip liner so that she can use the edge to pull up on. Just remember to have her steer clear of the faucet and keep a watchful eye so she doesn’t fall and hurt herself. Play outside in the grass or lay out cushions, blankets, and child-safe toys on the floor to encourage varied movement and curiosity.6
- Remove the confines of clothes. Turn up the room temperature, lay out a soft rug or towel, and let your child play naked! This fun sensory exploration will allow her to move more freely. You may want to play in an area easy to clean up for potential potty messes!
With so many exciting movement milestones to reach at this age, you can help your child develop these skills by encouraging more active physical play. Soon, you’ll see her on the move and the whole world will become hers to explore!
1 Schleyer, C. (2010-17). Child Development Milestones: 7 Motor Development Phases. In Kids Sports Activities. Retrieved January 29, 2014, from http://www.kids-sports-activities.com/child-development-milestones.html#anchor1.
2 Swim, T. J., & Watson, L. (2010). Infants and Toddlers: Curriculum and Teaching (7th ed.). Belmont: Cengage Learning.
3 Winnick, J. P. (2011). Adapted Physical Education and Sport (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
4 Illinois State Board of Education. For Children Birth to Age Three: Illinois Early Learning Guidelines. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://www.isbe.net/earlychi/pdf/el-guidelines-0-3.pdf.
5 Florida Partnership for School Readiness (2004). Florida Birth to Three Learning and Developmental Standards. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://www.unf.edu/uploadedFiles/aa/fie/Birthto3%20Standards.pdf
6 Maryland State Department of Education (2010). Healthy Beginnings: Supporting Development and Learning from Birth through Three Years of Age. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://cte.jhu.edu/onlinecourses/HealthyBeginnings/HBFINAL.pdf.