As we celebrate our child’s first steps, echoing the major evolutionary leap our ancestors took six or seven million years ago by walking upright on two feet, fears and concerns about children walking often come to the forefront. This monumental milestone, as explained by child psychologist Carol Baicker-McKee, Ph.D., allows kids to expand their worldview and self-perception. As parents, we recognize this crucial developmental milestone as the transition from the baby to the toddler years, which often comes with its own set of concerns.
It’s natural that parents would be anxious about whether or not their child will reach this milestone in time. Is their lack of athleticism guaranteed if they walk late? Is there anything we can do about their pigeon toes? Learn more about these frequent concerns while strolling by reading on.
My Infant a Slow in the Crawling Department
However, not all children follow the normal timeline of developmental milestones, which includes rolling, sitting up, crawling, pulling up, standing alone, cruising, and eventually walking. In fact, children spend less time on their bellies, reducing their possibilities to strengthen the neck and trunk muscles that are necessary for crawling, as a result of parents’ efforts to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. According to developmental psychologist and author of Child Development: An Active Learning Approach Laura Levine, Ph.D., “As a result, many kids are crawling later—and some skip it and go straight to walking.”
You can encourage your baby to crawl by placing a few toys out of his or her reach on the floor.
Your child’s capacity to use the muscles on both sides of their body, as demonstrated when they are scooting on their tummy, is more crucial than their ability to crawl, which is not essential to regular development. If your child is showing a preference for one side, only rolling in one direction, or scooting with one foot, you should take them to the doctor to rule out neurological concerns because children don’t acquire handedness until age 2.
Why Did My Baby Delay Walking?
Toddling is a natural developmental milestone that often occurs between the ages of 8 and 17 months (or later if your baby was born prematurely), so don’t feel bad if your child seems to be behind the other kids in the playgroup.
She reassures parents that having a child who is on the slower side doesn’t indicate they’ll be less smart or clumsy as adults. However, most pediatricians will still check on a baby who isn’t walking by the age of 18 months, just to be safe.
Nearly all children can walk by the time they are 15 months old, and half can do so by age one. The first thing I look for when a child isn’t walking by this age is whether or not he lacks the confidence to walk on his own (maybe he’s afraid to take steps without a hand to hold) or whether or not he lacks the balance or strength to walk.
Dr. Brown suggests practicing walking using a walking toy, such as a baby-size supermarket cart or a gadget like Walking Wings, designed to help your kid practice walking while you hang on for added support if your child’s lack of confidence is the problem. Baby walkers are not only unsafe (a youngster can fall down the steps) but also counterproductive (they postpone walking), as stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Last but not least, don’t force your kid to walk before he or she is ready. As a result of the anxiety it causes, getting started can be put off.
My Infant Has an Odd Pace
Your child’s legs may be somewhat bowed when they first learn to walk on two feet, a vestige of their fetal position. This should have corrected itself by the time the child reaches the third year.
It’s also not unusual to see people walking with their feet slightly turned in or out. The problem usually disappears after some exercise.
If your youngster walks constantly on their toes, though, doctors may take notice. Dr. Brown says some children choose to use their toes for gripping, while others do so because their Achilles tendons are too short. Consult your child’s pediatrician if he or she has trouble putting their feet down and standing normally.
Toe walking has been associated with autism and other developmental issues. However, most people who walk on their toes do not have autism. If there are no other signs of developmental delay, this is likely just a passing phase for your child. You’ll soon be asking yourself, “Why did I want this kid to walk so soon?” when she starts running around the house.