First comes walking, then comes squatting!

Once baby has started walking, they will begin to develop strength and balance while moving, and before long, they will begin to squat. Squatting to pick up a toy is a 13-18 month milestone, which helps develop baby’s motor, sensory, and play skills. Learn more about squatting!

A baby squat is an important motor milestone

When will baby squat?

Squatting usually happens after baby has taken their first steps and they become more confident in their walking. First steps are a 10-12 month milestone, so this is usually around baby’s first birthday. Baby will be wobbly when they take their first steps, so squatting won’t happen right away! As they begin to walk more and have better balance while walking, they will begin to squat around 13-18 months.

Why does baby squat?

Baby is motivated to squat when they want to pick something up. Babies use squatting instead of bending since it’s easier to balance compared to bending over. In order to squat, baby has to have good balance and stability in standing, so if they are still unsteady and new to walking they may not be ready to squat just yet. The good news is, you can help them!

How can you help baby squat?

There are a few ways you can help baby get the hang of this milestone!

  • Show baby how to squat. Baby learns best from you! Show baby how they can bend their knees to reach a lower surface. You can help them bend their knees, or show them how you do it.
  • Sing songs or play games that involve squatting. In singing “Wheels on the Bus,” squat when you sing: “the people on the bus go up and DOWN.” You can also squat while singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” Baby might try and imitate you, and start to squat!
  • Place toys on the ground. If the distance to the ground is too much for baby to manage at first, you can place baby’s toys on a surface that still requires them to bend their knees a little to reach, such as a small step, footstool, or even a few stacked books! Have baby practice small squats to reach these. They may want to even hold one of your hands or keep a hand on a nearby surface for support. As they become more confident, place the toys on the floor so they can get a deeper squat.
  • Do clean-up time! Try to motivate baby to squat by having them help clean up after playtime. Not only is this a great way to practice squatting, it can also help your little one learn about responsibility and cleaning up.

If baby is not squatting by 19 months, talk to a healthcare provider.

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