When you see other children your toddler’s age starting to walk, it’s understandable if you feel worried that your child hasn’t joined in yet. The good news is, young children can hit developmental milestones like walking later than their peers without necessarily having a developmental delay.
By getting regular pediatric care at Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California, our team can track your child’s development and ensure they’re hitting developmental milestones as expected, as well as recommend early intervention when needed. Here’s why board-certified pediatrician Rainilda Valencia, MD, recommends your child get regular developmental screenings to monitor their progress in learning to walk and other developmental milestones.
When should my toddler start walking?
Usually, your young child starts walking after their leg muscles develop enough strength to support their body weight. Before your toddler begins to walk, they’ll start crawling, scooting, and pulling themselves up while being supported by objects.
You might have read in some child development books that children walk at around 12 months, but in reality the timeline can be more variable. Typically developing infants and toddlers can begin walking anytime between 9-18 months. If your child isn’t walking by 14 months, very often they’re just starting to walk on the later side of the usual range.
What should I do if my toddler isn’t walking?
The next steps you should take if your toddler isn’t walking depend on the age of your toddler. Here’s what you can do if your child isn’t walking by 14-18 months.
When your toddler isn’t walking by 14 months
At 14 months, it’s not usually a concern if your child isn’t walking yet. If your child is hitting other developmental milestones within the usual timeframe, you can relax and allow your toddler to develop walking skills at their own pace.
You can also start to help your toddler develop the confidence and coordination skills necessary to learn to walk. Encourage your toddler to walk by putting their favorite toys on surfaces they can safely reach by standing up.
You can also help your child develop leg strength by sitting on the floor and holding your toddler’s hands while they stand. Avoid carrying your toddler around whenever possible, and instead allow them to become stronger or more coordinated by encouraging them to independently scoot and stand more frequently.
When your toddler isn’t walking by 18 months
When your toddler isn’t walking by 18 months, schedule an 18-month developmental screening with Dr. Valencia. At the screening, she assesses your child’s walking progress and makes further recommendations. Not walking at 18 months doesn’t necessarily mean your child has a delay, but can sometimes indicate they have an underlying condition.
What happens at a developmental screening
Dr. Valencia recommends all toddlers get developmental screenings at 9, 18, 24, and 30 months to ensure their development is on track. She also assesses your toddler’s development at their annual well child exam between ages 1-5.
At your toddler’s developmental screening, Dr. Valencia assesses your child’s gross motor skills, as well as their physical growth, language skills, and learning abilities. She also gives you the opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns you have about your child’s walking or other developmental milestones.
Developmental screenings make it easy for Dr. Valencia to assess the reason your child isn’t walking, as well as any other underlying developmental conditions. Early detection allows your child to get any recommended interventions as soon as possible.
If you’re concerned about your toddler’s walking timeline or other developmental milestones, contact our team at Valencia Pediatrics today by calling our office at 442-204-0019 to schedule a telehealth or in-office appointment.