Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

December 29, 2015

Physical Therapist tips to help your little one stand



blog_stand.jpgIs your 14-16 month-old unable to stand up alone?

According to the Denver Developmental Screening Test-2nd Edition, 25% of babies stand alone by 11 months, 50% by 11.5 months, and 90% by 13.5 months. After mastering the art of sitting and crawling, most babies will naturally progress to standing.

In order for a little one to stand alone, he must have sufficient muscle strength present in the legs, hips and core. If you have noticed your baby struggling with other milestones such as rolling, sitting and crawling, he may not have properly strengthened these muscles over time.

Ways to encourage standing:

  • Put your baby in your lap standing with his/her feet on your legs. For more support, face your baby towards you leaning against your chest. For less support, face your baby away from you. Help your baby rock side to side or bounce up and down while supporting their upper trunk.
  • Look for opportunities for your child to play with children who are just slightly more developmentally advanced than your child. Watching other children as they figure out how to stand can encourage your child to try as well.
  • Help your baby crawl up stairs to strengthen their leg muscles.
  • If your baby avoids all contact between their feet and the floor, place him in a sitting or supine position. While in this position, gently pound his feet on the floor so that he can get used to the feeling. You can also massage his feet using lotion or powder.
  • Lay your baby on her back. Grab her feet and gently jostle your baby by pulling and pushing her through their legs to get some ‚Äúweight bearing‚Äù through her legs while laying down.  
  • Place your baby on a medicine ball lying on his stomach. Gently roll the ball backwards until his feet touch the floor and he is in a standing position. Repeat this sequence several times.

Normal child development typically follows a predictable pattern. See our website for a developmental chart.  

Still, it takes time for babies to develop the necessary skills and muscle strength needed to perform gross motor tasks, such as standing. Certain babies simply take longer progressing through these milestones, especially babies born prematurely. If you are still concerned about your baby’s development, here are some early warning signs that should not be ignored:

Early warning signs:

  • Not rolling by 7 months of age
  • Not pushing up on straight arms, lifting head and shoulders, by 8 months of age
  • Not sitting independently by 10 months of age
  • Not crawling 10 months of age
  • Not pulling to stand by 12 months of age
  • Not standing alone by 14 months 
  • Not using both sides of body equally
  • Not standing when supported by 9 months or later

Need help?:

If you want help with these suggestions or notice any of the warning signs, a physical therapy evaluation can determine if your child is simply showing normal variability in gross motor development or if your child can benefit from intervention. Amy Sturkey LPT is one of the physical therapists at Child and Family Development.  She can determine a diagnosis, as applicable, and provide recommendations and interventions to address any difficulties. 


Calabrese, Lori. “7 Tips to Get Your Baby Standing Up.” N.p.. Web. 3 Feb 2013

Lipka, Mitch. “When Will My Baby Stand without Support.” N.p.. Web. 3 Feb 2013.



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