I have a 13 months old boy. He started crawling at 8 months, sit on his own at 12 months and crawl on hands and knees. He still doesn’t stand up on his own, he stands on his knees but not his feet. I want to mention that I have a 4-year-old daughter that also started walking late at age 15 months. But standing and walking around the table she started already at 12 months. My question is are there specific exercises I can do with him in order to slightly expedite the process. I want to mention that I was at an orthopedist and he told me that his feet tilt outward, I don’t know if there’s a connection to the fact that his rate of development is relatively slow. I would really appreciate it if you could help me.

Answer:
According to your description you son does execute the developmental stages, a little late, but in order without skipping stages. Around 12 months it’s reasonable that a baby will begin standing and walking on his own. Your son practices and improved his balance gradually by standing on his knees. When he feels secure enough and will have good balance he can move to standing and walking. At the same time you should make sure this muscle tone is proper and balanced. I recommend focusing on exercises that will improve his balance – sitting on a fitness ball – bouncing in place, rocking back and forth and to the sides. Hold his from his pelvis so his back will be mobile and can balance his body. This practice will greatly improve his ability to balance, and will strengthen his muscle tone. On the ball sideway sitting (one leg bent forward and the other backwards) – bouncing and rocking in place. Add motion forward, backward, to the right and left. Small and gradual movement. In case there is difficulty staying on the ball you can blow soap bubbles or play music. -Let him try out the swing, slide, in free motion a lot. -Take him in your arms and lift to an airplane position, facing out, motion from side to side, eighths, light bouncing. These experiences cause the body to strengthen and will help with spatial orientation as well. -From sitting, using a pillow gentle pushes to take him out of balance so he practices balancing. The pushes should be given on the sides of the body, shoulders. Let him move by the pushes to all direction with the upper body (forward backward and to the sides). Pass the message and sensation that you trust him and have confidence in him and his movements and don’t over protect him. Best of luck, Tali Tzamir Levy, infant development trainer, “First Step.”