As parents, we all eagerly anticipate the day when our little ones will take their first steps. Learn about the crucial developmental stages that lead to this milestone and discover how you can aid in your baby’s journey with our guide on what you can do to help your baby learn to walk.
Learning to walk is one of the most exciting things a baby does in the first two years of their life.
Between the ages of 4 and 15 months, your child will progress from learning to sit up to walking independently around the house. And while it may seem to pass quickly, your kid will go through a number of small steps before taking his or her first successful step. By simple activities and words of encouragement, you may help your child build the confidence to take their first steps during this exciting period.
Don’t panic if your baby is not walking by their first birthday. Not all infants will reach this developmental milestone at the same time; some are delayed, and others are quicker, and the majority of infants will not be fully walking until closer to 15 months. See your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child’s walking ability.
You may be shocked to learn that independent sitting is the first exciting step toward mobility. When the time comes for your child to learn to stand, sitting will assist them to develop the strength in their legs that will be required.
4–7 months old
During playtime, roll a ball back and forth or engage in stacking games to strengthen their little muscles.
At the crawling stage, infants need to practice moving their arms and legs simultaneously (even if they do a belly crawl or a scoot). Your infant will require these skills in order to walk.
Crawling not only allows your infant to exercise those muscles, but it also builds balance and coordination.
7–10 months old
What you can do is have your infant crawl from one side of the room to the other to build these skills. Don’t forget to commend them on their efforts!
3. Pulling Up
As your infant grows stronger and more curious, they will begin to pull themselves up to standing using furniture (or you!). This new skill of pulling up is a terrific opportunity to assist your child practice balance while standing and becoming accustomed to the standing position. If you haven’t already, now is an opportune time to baby-proof your home.
What you can do is assist your child in pulling themselves up, then demonstrate how to return to the floor by bending their knees. This will help prevent their first falls when they begin walking independently.
4. Walking With Assistance
Once your child has practiced pulling themselves up and appears confident, assist them in taking a few steps by holding their hands and guiding them carefully. This exercise is a terrific technique to assist your baby in developing balance and become accustomed to movement when standing, which will aid him in the following phase of walking.
8–9 months old
What you can do: Practice, practice, practice. Practicing is essential for your child at this age. The more accustomed your infant becomes to standing and being on their feet, the more likely they will be to take their first steps.
Your infant will then begin to use walls and furniture to navigate on two feet. This type of movement is known as cruising. When your baby becomes more mobile, ensure that your home is thoroughly baby-proofed and that all furniture is attached to the wall to prevent harm.
An estimated 3,200 tip-over accidents occur annually when infants and toddlers pull on furniture and gadgets such as dressers and televisions. To prevent this, you can install drawer stops, childproof locks, and safety straps that tether furniture to the wall to prevent tip-overs throughout your home.
8–9 months old
Encourage your child to develop more confidence when cruising, and encourage him or her to let go of the wall or furniture. Simply ensure that they have a soft landing location.
6. Standing Unassisted
Balance is essential for walking. If your infant can maintain balance for a few seconds, they will soon feel confident enough to attempt to take their first step.
9 to 12 months
What you can do is to make balance a game. Sit on the floor with your infant and assist them in standing up. Then, determine how long they can remain standing before falling. Offer several compliments after each try!
7. First Steps
Your child’s first steps are a momentous occasion, so make a big deal out of them. Walking is all about self-assurance; therefore, everything leading up to those initial steps must be filled with praise and support.
9 to 12 months
What you can do is encourage your child when they attempt their first steps. Together, practice by sitting on the floor and being guided slowly. When your child gains balance, permit them to take independent steps.
It may take a few falls and a sequence of steps before your child is completely mobile on their own. Continue to compliment your infant as he or she begins to explore walking. Consider that some infants will still choose to cruise or crawl for a time and that they may crawl/walk prior to attempting to walk regularly.
12 to 15 months old
What you can do is encourage as much walking as possible. For instance, place your infant in a walking position rather than a sitting position when you set them down.
What Parents Need to Understand About Baby Walkers
Although it may be tempting to acquire equipment designed to assist your baby in walking, you should avoid sit-in baby walkers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) opposes walkers severely. They claim that walkers not only retard the development of walking but are also exceedingly harmful.
Every year, thousands of infants are hospitalized owing to the popular product. The sale of walkers is already prohibited in Canada, and the AAP recommends that the United States adopt the same policy.