Skip to Content

Why do girls walk before boys?

In the realm of child development, there are often assumptions and beliefs that circulate among parents and caregivers. One such notion is that girls tend to walk before boys. Many anecdotes from parents support this claim, while some pediatricians argue the opposite. However, the reality may be quite different from what these anecdotes suggest. Scientific studies on motor skill development in infants have consistently shown no significant differences between boys and girls when it comes to reaching milestones like walking. Understanding the truth behind this misconception is essential in promoting a holistic understanding of child development. In this article, we will explore the topic of why girls supposedly walk before boys, delve into the research on motor skill development in infants, identify the factors that influence it, and discuss the importance of embracing individual differences in this aspect of child development.

Overview of Motor Skill Development in Infants

Motor skills refer to the ability to control and coordinate movements of the body. In infants, these skills encompass actions such as lifting the head, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and eventually walking. As babies grow, they gradually develop the strength, balance, and coordination necessary to achieve these motor milestones. However, the rate at which infants acquire these skills can vary, which is important to keep in mind when discussing the timing of walking between boys and girls.

Studies on Motor Skill Development in Boys and Girls

Anecdotal evidence often suggests that boys tend to walk before girls. Many parents report that their sons took their first independent steps earlier than their daughters. On the other hand, some pediatricians hold a different perspective, arguing that girls may actually walk before boys. This conflicting information can be confusing for parents and caregivers who are trying to understand the development of their child’s motor skills.

To gain a clearer understanding of this issue, researchers have conducted studies on motor skill development in boys and girls. These studies have consistently shown that there are no significant differences in the timing of walking between boys and girls. The perception that one gender walks before the other is primarily based on individual variations rather than a gender-based pattern.

Factors Influencing Motor Skill Development

Several factors come into play when it comes to the development of motor skills in infants. These factors can be categorized into biological and environmental influences.

On the biological front, genetics play a role in determining the rate at which an infant acquires motor skills. Some children may have a genetic predisposition towards earlier or later motor skill development. Additionally, hormonal influences may also contribute to differences in motor skill development between boys and girls. However, it is important to note that these biological factors do not align with a consistent pattern of one gender walking before the other.

Environmental factors also play a crucial role in motor skill development. Parental interactions and practices can have an impact on a child’s physical development. For example, providing ample opportunities for safe exploration and movement can facilitate the acquisition of motor skills. Furthermore, cultural and societal expectations regarding gender roles may inadvertently influence parents’ observations and interpretations of their child’s development.

Importance of Individual Variations in Motor Skill Development

It is crucial to emphasize the normal range of development when discussing motor skills in infants. Babies reach developmental milestones within a certain window of time, but there is considerable variation within this timeframe. Some infants may walk as early as 9 months, while others might not take their first steps until 15 months or later. These individual variations are perfectly normal and do not indicate any developmental deficiencies.

Moreover, it is essential to challenge gender stereotypes and biases when discussing motor skill development in children. Assuming that one gender is more advanced or quicker in achieving motor milestones perpetuates harmful stereotypes that can limit a child’s potential and hinder their individual growth. Embracing and celebrating the unique developmental journey of each child is crucial in promoting their overall well-being.

Implications and Recommendations

Based on the understanding that there are no significant differences in motor skill development between boys and girls, there are important implications and recommendations for parents, caregivers, professionals, and society as a whole.

First and foremost, parents and caregivers should foster a supportive and stimulating environment that encourages the development of motor skills in infants. This can be achieved by providing opportunities for safe exploration and play, as well as engaging in interactive activities that promote physical development.

It is equally important for professionals in the field of child development and healthcare to educate themselves and the public about the normal variations in motor skill development. By promoting awareness of these individual differences, professionals can help alleviate the concerns of parents and ensure that no undue pressure is placed on children to reach milestones within a specific timeframe.

Lastly, as a society, we must challenge and dismantle gender stereotypes and biases when it comes to child development. Recognizing and celebrating the unique abilities and potential of every child, regardless of gender, is crucial in fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for their growth and development.


In conclusion, the notion that girls walk before boys is based on anecdotes and misconceptions. Scientific studies have consistently shown that there are no significant differences in motor skill development between boys and girls during infancy. It is important for parents, caregivers, professionals, and society as a whole to embrace and celebrate the individual variations in children’s motor skill development. By creating an environment that supports and encourages each child’s unique journey, we can ensure that they reach their full potential and thrive in their physical and cognitive development. Let us move away from gender stereotypes and biases and focus on fostering an inclusive and nurturing environment for all children.


  1. Do baby girls start walking sooner than boys?
  2. Do girls walk earlier than boys? *POLL
  3. Boys will be boys, girls will be girls from birth
  4. Raising boys and girls: Differences in development
  5. Why do girls walk before boys? – 2023 Calendar Australia