The most babies learn to walk before their first birthday. More of them walk very well by the time they are about fifteen months old. Some of them need more or less time, of course. Some normal and healthy children start walking when they are sixteen or even seventeen months old.
Table of Contents
- 7 Ways to Help Babies Learn to Walk
- Enjoy Your Baby’s First Attempts to Start Walking
- Every Child Has Her Own Timeline and Progression
- Walking is a Serious Business for Your Baby
- She Knows Everything All by Herself but Needs a Little Support
- Help Your Baby Make the First Unsure Steps
- Keep an Eye on Your Baby and Give Her Enough Space
- Let Your Baby Walk the Barefoot
7 Ways to Help Babies Learn to Walk
Enjoy Your Baby’s First Attempts to Start Walking
During her first year of life, baby’s legs aren’t strong enough to support her. But, you will see that she pushes against a hard surface with her feet while you hold her little arms. This is a reflexive action, and it lasts only during a couple of months.
After the baby makes her first attempts with your help, she will start to stand alone. She won’t be stable completely, but she will be able to stand while she holds on for furniture. You can expect that she will increasingly demand to stand. When she tries to stand up, while holding onto furniture, you should help her by propping her up. You will be surprised when you see that she is hanging on very tight.
Very often the baby makes her first steps when she is about nine months old. From that precious moment, everything is a matter of confidence and balance. Your child’s first steps are very important because they mean her first move toward independence. But, don’t expect your baby to hit the walking milestone overnight. Before walking, every baby goes through the phase of cruising around nine to twelve months. It is baby’s way of testing the walking and is one of the most important signs she will start to walk soon.
Every Child Has Her Own Timeline and Progression
It’s normal for a baby to spend a few weeks studying her new skill, but there is a possibility that some of them don’t follow the same timeline and progression. My daughter crawled for a few days, got up and cruised very quickly. But, some of them crawl for months before they stand up. My friend’s daughter didn’t crawl at all. One day she just stood up and started ‘walking’. All family members were completely astonished.
The next big step for her is to figure out how to bend her knees and how to sit after standing. Believe or not, it is harder than you can imagine! At about twelve months, she’ll start to move from one piece of furniture to the next asking for support. Some babies will be able to stand with some support and to make the first step in that age, but many of them take their time and wait a little longer. I believe it might take longer for some of them because they have to find the courage to actually do it.
Walking is a Serious Business for Your Baby
Every child has a lot of steps to take to become an adept walker. But, it isn’t only about physical activity. Learning to walk means more than simple footwork! They have to reach that moment when they are ready to make the first step. The preparatory phase before the first step can be different from child to child.
As I already said, there’s a wide spectrum of normal ages for kids to start walking. There is a list of children’s activities by age completed from various surveys, but they are just rough overviews. Please, remember that a normal, healthy child can start walking after nine months, but some of them can wait even until seventeen months. Don’t worry as long as she is a healthy and active baby.
For example, my daughter made her first steps very early, but my friend’s son waited a bit. It took him over fourteen months to start walking. But, today there are no differences between them at all. Some babies are faster, and some need more time to start walking. In fact, nobody knows what the real reason for their timetable is.
On the other hand, if your child isn’t toddling by fifteen months it is maybe OK for her, but it can concern you. You always can talk with her doctor just to check for something that may be delaying the milestone. Keep in mind that premature babies may reach their first walk later than their peers. If your baby was premature, refer to your baby’s adjusted age and don’t panic!
She Knows Everything All by Herself but Needs a Little Support
Believe or not, you don’t need any fancy equipment to help your baby build all key skills she needs to start walking. Actually, you just need to support and encourage her for a while. For most babies, after ‘tummy time’, begin phrases such as rolling, sitting, crawling, and pulling up. She can do the entire job on her own, of course, but you can help her along this path of that progress.
For the start, try to spend less time carrying her. I know that you love carrying and cuddling your baby as every mother does. But, if you spend too much time holding a baby, there will appear one of the main reasons why your child delay in walking.
Think about it! Why would she want to move more on her own, when the cuddling is so nice and comfortable? Plus, do you give her a chance to start walking? She won’t be a capable starting to walk if she is never on the floor. Right?
Help Your Baby Make the First Unsure Steps
From the very beginning, give her enough time each day to explore and develop her skills. That way she will become more interested in walking milestone. Some parents like a baby walker, but many experts advice to skip it. Actually, it slows down baby’s learning-to-walk process.
Walkers take a baby to walk while she is in a sitting position, which isn’t a natural walking position at all. Not only do they can postpone the first baby steps, but make it possible for babies to reach some hot items, for example, that children couldn’t be able to get. Also, they can be dangerous if it collapses or falls downstairs for example.
However, a recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that parents should avoid baby walkers altogether. Instead of using a baby walker, you have to encourage your little one to walk. Stand in front of your baby and hold out your hands. She’ll probably also enjoy pushing toys that she can hold on to as he walks. For that purpose, pick out stable toys which offer a support for her.
Keep an Eye on Your Baby and Give Her Enough Space
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t leave your baby unattended. If she gets hurt when she falls, there is a possibility she will be afraid to rise again for a while. Also, pay attention to space where your child will make her first steps.
There’s nothing better for a baby than being on a safe floor away from furniture with sharp corners on which she could be hurt. But, you can’t keep her away from every corner. I used protective corner and edge cushions to cover the sharp-edges furniture, and I highly recommend you to buy a few.
There is one more thing you should do. Try to minimize the time your baby spends in a baby fence or playpen. It is OK if a baby plays into them for a while, but they don’t help with movement skills. If a baby is stuck inside ‘walls’, there are not enough opportunities for her to crawl, roll over or stand up. And that could lead to her being one of the late walkers.
Once the child is upright and starts to cruise along furniture, find a ‘push toy’ which will help her learn to walk forward with support. It can be a simple thing like a diaper box, for example. My daughter liked those big Pandas and I bought her one. It will be very helpful for your baby too. A baby can push it through the house and enjoy her new activity. She walks now!
One more thing! Very soon after your baby starts with more steadily walking, let her climb the stairs. You should support her in the beginning, of course. But, most children like climbing and they are able to manage stairs on their own by the time they turn two.
Let Your Baby Walk the Barefoot
Unlike most parents, I didn’t buy baby shoes until my daughter started walking outside. I really believe that going barefoot helps a baby improving her coordination. Many experts also recommend letting a baby go barefoot. In that way, she can use her toes and it will help her with balance. I believe that you should do the same.
Also, keep in mind that inadequate shoes can cause great damage which can’t be corrected later. First baby shoes I bought were with light and flexible insoles. It is crucial avoiding any hazard. You have to enable the bones and muscles of your baby’s feet to develop well. It’s more important than buying super modern, but uncomfortable shoes.
I’m telling you from my experience, baby’s first steps will take your breath away. They happen only once in her life, and you will be able to watch those unsure steps only once and never again with her. Enjoy all the time! Once baby steps on by her own, you’ll be dreaming about the days when you haven’t been running after her 24/7!