Kids & Company Blog

Developmental Milestones for Children from 6-12 Months

This blog is written by our guest authors Samantha Martin and Hillary Ng, physiotherapist from Toronto Kids Physio. Kids Physio provides pediatric physiotherapy services across Canada; as babies, kids, and teens function differently from adults, and their spaces and team are equipped to provide the highest quality physiotherapy care, delivered in a FUN and engaging way. 


The 6-12 month age is a very exciting time in terms of motor development as your baby is starting to explore their environment and moving around more independently. This includes being in new positions, such as sitting, crawling, and standing! All these skills develop at certain points in time, however, it is important to remember that all babies are different and will achieve skills on slightly different timelines and in a variety ways. Typically, it is suggested that babies progress their skills or get better at current ones (in terms of frequency and/or endurance, such as sitting for 5 minutes vs. 15 minutes) every 2-4 weeks. 


Typical milestones for 6-9 months and how to encourage development through play.

Developmental milestones that start to occur in this timeframe include: 

  • Sitting without support and reaching for toys without falling
  • Pushing up with extended elbows while on tummy 
  • Getting in and out of sitting on their own
  • Turning in circles on their tummies
  • Starting to push up onto hands and knees
  • Starting to crawl in some form (e.g. army crawling, crawling on hands and knees) 

At around 6 months, your baby will start to sit independently. The next step is improving their sitting balance and ability to reach for toys without falling over. Moving your baby’s favourite toys slightly out of reach to either side will encourage them to work on their ability to lean to one side without falling. If you move the toy far enough away, this can help them learn to transition out of sitting down to their tummies, as well! 

Once this is established, babies will learn to transition themselves in and out of sitting, and eventually progress to getting up on their hands and knees. Before this can happen, they need to develop adequate core strength and the ability to reach on their tummies. When your baby is on their tummy, placing toys slightly out of reach either in front or to the side of your baby will help them to learn how to lean side to side and move around the mat on their tummy. 

Once your baby is starting to move and play a bit more on their tummy, it’s time to work on pushing up to hands and knees. One way you can set up their environment to promote this is by placing toys onto a raised surface. This will encourage your baby to direct their gaze higher up and motivate them to push up onto their arms and work on tucking knees under their body to help them get higher. Some great options include couch cushions placed on the floor, upside down bins, and step stools. Once they’ve mastered this, you may notice them pulling themselves over small surfaces or obstacles (like your legs) - which is the early stages of crawling.


Typical milestones for 10-12 months and how to encourage their development through play.

Developmental milestones to look out for include: 

  • Pulling to stand at surfaces
  • Stepping sideways while holding on to furniture (also known as cruising)
  • Standing briefly without hand support
  • May start to take independent steps
  • Squatting to play

Once crawling is mastered, the next big step is transitioning into standing! As such, raising toys up onto even higher surfaces now encourages your baby to move from their knees to their feet! If you don’t have any surfaces that you feel comfortable letting your baby pull up on, you can include an activity table in their play space, or use an ottoman or a low couch. Ideally, the surface should be about chest height for them when in standing, so they can place their hands down for support. Keep in mind that when babies are first learning to pull up to stand, they are still gaining their balance, so it’s important to be mindful of sharp edges on any surfaces they are practicing at. 

Once they get confident, they will start letting go of the surface so that they can play with toys in either or both hands. This helps lead to independent standing! You can start to encourage this by giving your baby something really motivating, such as a snack or a favourite toy, while they are standing. A good distraction is often necessary as some babies may get scared when they realise they are standing on their own! 

Once they accomplish this, you can start to move toys (or snacks) along surfaces to encourage cruising - or “walking along surfaces". You want to make sure you do this to the left and right to strengthen both sides of their bodies. 

As these standing skills develop, babies will begin to show interest in walking. This may start as early as 10 months but it ranges up to 18 months and sometimes beyond, if they have been slower to progress in their previous skills. That being said, we don’t want to wait until 18 months before we wonder if they’re delayed in this skill - as the rule of thumb is skills should develop or improve every 2-4 weeks. 


When to reach out to a Pediatric Physiotherapist (the “motor development” experts).

As a parent, it's natural to be concerned about your child's development. If your child has not progressed their skills within 4-6 weeks, or you notice any of the below, it may be time to consider reaching out to a paediatric physiotherapist. 

Common reasons you may want to seek out help, include:

  • Minimal interest in exploring their environment: This could mean that your child isn't curious about the world around them, or they are having difficulty moving around and exploring. Sometimes changing up a child’s play space (or enlarging it) allows them to have the mobility and confidence to move, but a physiotherapist can guide you on how to set up an optimal play space for your baby. 
  • A preference using one side of their bodies: Typically you’ll notice this in terms of always  rolling to one side, falling in sitting to one side, or propping on one foot while crawling. This may indicate weakness or stiffness on the other side of their body.
  • Noticing compensatory movements, such as bum scooting or knee walking. While these movements can be functional, they're not ideal for long-term motor development. It's important to make sure your child is achieving developmental milestones like 4-point crawling, and walking.
  • No interest in standing or walking (and have been doing the same skill set for 4-6 weeks). Some babies struggle with putting weight through their feet, so slowly exposing them to new positions can help with strengthening their legs.

Early intervention can make a big difference in your child's gross motor skill development and allow them the ability to begin exploring their environment in a fun and purposeful way!

If you have any questions or are in need of support connect with @kidsphysio on Instagram or visit

This is part 1 of a milestone development blog series. If you have any questions or are in need of support connect with @kidsphysio on Instagram or visit Kids Physio provides pediatric physiotherapy services across Canada; as babies, kids, and teens function differently from adults, and their spaces and team are equipped to provide the highest quality physiotherapy care, delivered in a FUN and engaging way. 

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