During his lesson, the eleven month old baby grabbed his grandmother’s trouser pants and proudly pulled himself up to a standing position.  The grandmother was very tempted to congratulate him, but she knew better.  She was wise enough to take his hands back down to the floor.  “Not yet,”  she quietly said, “Wow!  That is good crawling.” She praised the motor skill activities appropriate for the moment.

Parents are eager to see the day that baby grabs onto their leg to pull himself up to a standing positon.  This means the day he will walk independently is soon approaching.  There is no question that the motor skill of standing up is one of the most celebrated baby milestones.  It signals the end of infancy is approaching–the transition from moving on all fours to standing and walking on two feet.


Sometimes baby learns to pull up to a standing position too soon, before his bones and muscles are strong enough to support him.  In this situation, it is best for the parent to take his hands back down to the floor and tell him it is not time to stand, and it is still time to crawl.  It is very beneficial for baby to crawl for several weeks before standing up.  For many years, experts in the field of child neurology and development have researched and shown that crawling is very important for the development of the brain.  Give baby plenty of time for crawling.  The baby milestone of crawling strengthens his bones and muscles, improves his coordination, and develops his brain.


There three common reasons why baby tries to stand before crawling:

  • Baby is imitating an older sibling.
  • Baby attends daycare where older babies are standing and walking.
  • Baby spent time in equipment such as a jumper that put him on his feet too soon.

Remember, babies learn by imitation.  They are motivated to do what everyone else around them is doing.  If baby is around an older sibling or older children at daycare, often he will try and stand too soon.  With parental encouragement to continue crawling or to learn to crawl, baby will understand that crawling is the better choice.  Through offering a lot of praise when they crawl, baby will understand this is the preferred milestone for now.

The answer to “When do babies learn to stand up,” is “After they crawl for awhile.”

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