A child will typically pull to a stand at 9 months with cruising typically emerging at 10 months when she will use two hands to stabilize herself. At 11 months she should be cruising using one hand to stabilize.
Tips To Help Your Child Start Cruising:
As a parent I know how precious time is, and so I would like to offer you two options, the long-winded version is first; and succinct version is second.
- Use a very low bench, booth, or stool that your child can stand at and support themselves with extended arms (modified hands and feet [quadruped] position).
- Play with your child in half-kneeling (“proposal position”) and allow them to push up to stand.
- If your child is having difficulty standing at the surface and playing, you may support their balance. The lower you support them, the more difficult for the child.
- Allow your child to stand on your lap while you are sitting. Like above, give them help for balance, the lower you support them, the more they have to work.
- While the child is standing a t the surface, offer her a toy so that she needs to take one hand off the support and rotate her trunk.
Be wary of using a push-toy such as a stroller or shopping cart exclusively when your child walks. These types of toys promote a forward shifting of the baby’s center of mass which can lead to sway-back or toe-walking later on. Try these toys as an adjunct, but allow them to cruise around without the push-toy as well.
Short and simple version:
- Place toys that motivate you child just beyond her reach so that she needs to negotiate her way down along the surface (such as the couch or a low table)
- Repeat as often as possible.
These strategies may be difficult to initiate, and may not necessarily work at first for every child. Don’t worry if your child becomes fussy upon introduction of these exercises, it is part of her normal development. However, if your child refuses to put weight through her legs at any age, or has not begun to pull to stand by 12 – 14 months of age, we suggest checking with a pediatric physical therapist or occupational therapist to monitor her gross motor development.