As a parent, watching your little one grow and hit key milestones is an incredible experience. One of the most exciting achievements is when your baby starts to walk! But did you know that before taking those first wobbly steps on their feet, many babies go through an intermediate “baby walking on knees“ phase?
What is Knee Walking?
Knee walking refers to the stage where a baby crawls or moves around on their knees instead of their hands and feet. Rather than a traditional crawl position with hands planted on the floor, babies doing knee walking will shuffle about on their knees with their back, neck, and head upright. This important developmental phase typically emerges between 9 and 12 months as toddlers build confidence and balance.
Knee walking allows babies to strengthen key muscle groups like their hips, legs, and core which are necessary for eventual upright walking. It indicates your little one is starting to shift weight and find stability on their knees in preparation for standing unsupported. While every baby develops on their own timeline, going through a knee walking period first is very common.
The Benefits of Baby Walking on Knees Stage
Allowing your baby to explore knee walking offers physical and neurological advantages including:
- Building leg and hip strength: Having to support themselves upright on their knees bolsters key muscle development. Their quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and hip abductors get a great workout!
- Improving balance and coordination: Keeping their torso upright while shuffling along challenges their equilibrium and coordination in ways regular crawling does not.
- Developing core stability: Having to keep their back straight while knee walking strengthens the baby’s core and trunk muscles.
- Learning to shift weight: Transferring weight side to side from knee to knee sets the foundation for walking mechanics.
- Boosting confidence: Mastering a new form of mobility gives babies independence which stimulates self-assurance.
- Enhancing spatial awareness: Upright knee walking allows babies to view surroundings from a new vantage point.
- Preparing the spine: Spinal strengthening and alignment occur, getting the baby’s back ready to eventually support more weight.
So while a baby walking on knees may seem unusual, it actually offers babies many developmental upsides! Of course, speak to your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
Timeframes for Baby Walking on Knees
Every infant has their own personalized timeline when it comes to physical milestones. While some babies skip knee walking altogether, many go through a 2 to 3-month knee walking phase. Signs your little one is ready to start ambling about on their knees include:
- Rocking back and forth on hands and knees
- Pulling themselves up on furniture
- Brief kneeling without support
- Attempting simple kneeling steps
Around the 8 to 9-month mark, if your baby already crawls efficiently or cruises around furniture walking, their muscles may be prepared for knee walking. By providing encouragement through toys, they’ll likely shuffle their first knee walks soon after building readiness skills.
Helping Your Knee Walker
Once knee walking begins, there are plenty of ways to make the learning process safe and fun including:
Appropriate Floor Surfaces
- Carpets and rugs – soft landing!
- Rubber mats or foam pads
- Avoid hardwood or tile floors
- Baby knee pads or soft leg warmers
- Socks with grippy tread
- Well-fit, flexible pants
- Push or pull toys they can use handles while knee walking
- Low ride-on toys for resting breaks
- Give applause and praise for progress
- Avoid pressure or comparison with others
- Patience is key – let them set the pace
If you ever have concerns about a baby’s development, check in with their pediatrician for expert guidance. But in most cases, allowing them to knee walk builds important abilities – and is downright cute!
When Upright Walking Emerges
Independent walking on their feet usually follows a few months after a baby’s knee walking adventures begin, between 9 and 18 months old. Signs your little one will start standing and stepping solo include:
- Cruising laps around furniture easily
- Standing unsupported for over 10 seconds
- Bending in half or squatting while holding onto something
- Walking confidently while holding just one hand
When those signals appear, the baby is showing bodily preparedness for the balance and coordination involved in upright ambulation. By allowing them unassisted standing and cruising practice, you fuel their readiness to take independent steps.
Here are some tips for furthering progress:
- Clear wide walkways and childproof dangers
- Arrange graspable supports at various heights
- Place enticing toys just out of reach
- Use backpacks, plush toys, or shopping carts for stability
- React encouragingly to any attempts to step
Avoid discouraging behaviors like walkers or bouncers which bypass physical practice baby needs. Have faith that your little one will walk when their body and brain decide the time is right!
Witnessing your baby transform from an immobile infant into a knee-crawling explorer and finally an upright walker is an amazing privilege. As parents, we get to nurture their development through an exciting continuum of mobility milestones.
Knee walking is a common stop along that fascinating journey which builds strength, balance, and confidence babies need for their next achievement – walking on two feet! By understanding this important phase of baby walking on knees and providing a safe environment for physical discovery, we help pave the way towards this ultimate independence milestone.
FAQs- Baby Walking On Knees
Is it normal for babies to walk on their knees?
Yes, it is completely normal and common for babies to go through a stage of walking or crawling on their knees around 9-12 months as they build up walking skills. It indicates strengthening leg muscles and balance. Most babies knee walk for 2-3 months before walking upright.
What are some benefits of baby walking on knees?
Key benefits of knee walking include building leg strength, improving balance/coordination, developing core stability, learning to shift weight between sides, boosting confidence through new mobility skills, and more.
How can I encourage safe knee walking at home?
Use carpeted floors or rubber mats to soften falls. Consider protective baby knee pads. Provide push/pull toys babies can use for support while knee walking. Monitor closely and positively praise efforts.
At what age do babies typically walk independently?
Independent, upright walking without support typically emerges between 9-18 months old, usually a few months after a baby begins exploring knee walking. Signs of readiness include cruising furniture easily, standing briefly alone, and walking confidently with minimal hand-holding.
How can I help my baby transition from knee walking to upright walking?
Encourage unassisted standing/cruising, clear wide walkways, provide different height grab bars, place motivating toys out of reach, use push toys for stability, and positively reinforce all attempts to progress walking skills. Avoid baby walkers.