search Menu

Your questions, answered

During the first two years of a child’s life there’s some big skills for them to master to do with their ability to move about, and grasp things with their hands.

There’s the Gross Motor skills which involve the large movements we do with our arms and legs, such as climbing, throwing, running, and moving large objects. And then there’s the Fine Motor skills which involve the small movements we do with our hands, such as drawing, writing, and using small objects.

We receive a lot of queries about these skills, with parents often unsure if their child is where they “should” be. Here we answer some of the most common queries.

My baby is not crawling yet, should I be worried?

Typically by 9-10 months we see that babies can move around by themselves, however this may not be through the typical method of ‘crawling’. Babies can get around in lots of different ways from ‘army crawling’ to ‘bum shuffling’. They are very clever at working out what they’ve mastered and what’s easier for them. It is not uncommon for a baby to go from ‘bum shuffling’ straight to walking.

If you're worried that your baby isn't showing any signs of moving by 12 months, do ask your health visitor for some advice. Take a look at the Baby Centre site for more advice on crawling

I want to encourage my baby to get moving!

It's natural to be keen for your child to progress to the next stage! Tummy time is the key to promoting movement. It’s important that your baby experiences tummy time as much as possible in the first year of life, as it allows them to develop and strengthen the muscles in their neck, arms, legs and body. At this age you should include at least 30 minutes of tummy time in short bursts spread throughout the day when they're awake.

Read more on our information pages about tummy time.

When will my child walk?

Every child is different, but children should be taking steps by 18-20 months. If not, do seek advice from your health visitor, and you can also make an appointment with your GP to discuss having a paediatric assessment.

You can read more about promoting gross motor skills on our support and advice pages. 

Is it ok to use a baby bouncer or ‘sit in’ walker with my baby?

Physiotherapists and other Health Professions do not recommend the use of baby walkers for two reasons: safety and developmental delay. If you are going to use a baby bouncer or 'sit in' walker it’s really important to make sure your baby spends no more than 20 minutes at a time in these. See this leaflet from the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists for more information.

The NHS has lots of great information on babies physical development

The most important thing we say within the Health Visiting team is, all babies are different and everyone develops skills at different rates. But if you’re worried, please do contact your health visitor.

About the author

Hannah Smallbone