WALKING EMERGES FROM CRUISING
How do babies learn to walk? In the above video, Rochel begins to walk forward toward her mother. She is still holding on to the coffee table, part of the side cruising skill. However, some of her steps are now moving forward rather than sideways. She only needs to hold on with one hand, not two. Observe the close-up shot of her feet. You can see her take one step forward with the right foot, then the left foot moves sideways, toward her right foot as in side-cruising. She is still moving forward, but is slowed down somewhat by the occasional side step which is from the familiar side cruising skill. Soon she will figure out that she gets where she wants much faster with only the forward moving steps of walking.
BABY FOOT DEVELOPMENT
Cruising is the first motor skill where baby is supporting all of her weight on her feet. It has taken many months for her baby bones and baby muscles to strengthen enough for this advancement in skill. Observe the flat shape of the feet. Moving in this upright position will begin to develop the muscles and arches of the feet that are necessary for balance, support, and locomotion in this vertical position.
CRUISING TO SITTING
An important aspect of motor skill development is transition, especially for changing levels. We all have to learn to move from sitting to standing, standing to sitting, standing to crawling, rolling to standing, etc. Rochel demonstrates perfectly how to transition down to the floor. She steps forward on her right foot, shifts her weight onto that foot, which frees up her left leg so she can bend it underneath her. Then she slowly bends her right leg to lower her pelvis down to the floor. Through much practice, she has developed strength in her legs so she can make this movement quite slowly. She immediately transitions again into a quick scoot to get to her toy, the stuffed animal. The skill of sitting is a transition to move from standing and walking to crawling on the floor. Once again, her movement is motivated by her desire to get to her favorite toy.