Rolling, Scooting, and Cruising: How Your Tot Will Get Around Before They Take Their First Steps

When a baby makes their way into the world it can be hard to imagine that one day soon (sooner than many parents realize) those tiny, brand new hands will be able to hold toys, those little arms will be able to pull baby upright, and those skinny legs will develop the strength and coordination they need to take baby where they want to go independently.

While the transition from newborn to walker typically takes between nine and eighteen months (with a little wiggle room within the range of normal on either side) and can seem like it happens in a flash, there are a whole lot of mobility-related developmental milestones that baby meets on their journey to independent mobility. Check out the mini-mobility milestones you can expect your baby to reach on their journey towards walking!

first steps
Image via Pexels

{ MORE: The Secret to Keeping Your Toddler in Bed All Night (It's So Simple!) }

Holding their Head Up

Early in your baby’s life, they’ll begin to develop the muscle tone they need in their neck to hold their head up independently. While this might not seem like it’s connected to baby’s first steps, head and neck strength is a necessary prerequisite to later walking.

Rolling

Within a few weeks or months, your baby will begin to roll. Most babies roll from tummy to back first (often in an effort to escape tummy time) and then, a few weeks or months later, master rolling from back to front. While it may not seem like it at first, rolling is a baby’s first opportunity to change their location and, once they get good at it, many babies utilize rolling to move across the room before they have the muscles or coordination they need to begin to crawl.

Sitting with Support and then Independently

In order for babies to gain independence mobility, they need solid core strength. Core strength provides the balance and steadiness that baby needs to put one foot in front of the other without topping and developing the core strength necessary to sit up is an early milestone of future successful mobility.

Army Crawling

While not all babies army crawl, those they do have often develop their coordination a little bit quicker than their muscle strength. While it might look a little goofy, baby is getting closer and closer to walking every time they practice getting where they need to go by army crawling.

Scooting

Scooting is one of the cutest ways babies get where they need to go before they begin to crawl or walk. A scooting baby will often sit on their bottom and use their feet to push themselves across a room. Again, not all babies scoot but those that do are further developing the coordination and strength they’ll need to crawl and walk in the coming months.

{ MORE: So, Your Baby Still Isn't Walking? Guess Nobody Told Him to Worry about Milestones. }

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Crawling

While not all babies crawl, most do. Early crawlers will often collapse after just one forward movement of their knees and hands before pushing themselves back up to do it all over again. As baby gets stronger they may begin to crawl at an astonishing speed! Sometimes, babies who are skilled crawlers linger in the crawling stage for quite a while before moving on to walking since they can typically meet their movement needs easily through crawling.

Cruising

Cruising refers to a baby taking steps while holding on a piece of furniture or other support. Cruising is often close to the last stop before your baby takes their very first independent steps.

Standing

When a baby stands upright without taking any steps many parents might wonder what they’re waiting for! Often babies who linger in the standing-but-not-taking-steps phase for a few weeks are waiting until they feel a little more confident before they start walking.

Walking!

Seeing a baby take their first steps is a beautiful sight. It can be exciting and emotional at the same time. Remember, as with everything baby related, there are a lot of variations of normal. Some babies take their first steps with steadiness and never go back to crawling, some alternate between cruising and taking independent steps as they gain their confidence and still others take a few steps and then go back to crawling for weeks or even a month before they decided to walk again.

{ MORE: Study Finds Diapers Slow Walking in Babies }

Good luck out there to all the parents of mobile and soon-to-be-mobile babies!

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Rolling, Scooting, and Cruising: How Your Tot Will Get Around Before They Take Their First Steps

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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