Tips On Getting Your Baby Walking, Including Exercising The Musles Needed To Walk And Find Out When Most Babies Start Walking
Whether she’s cruising along with the aid of the coffee table or taking a step or two before falling back down on her diaper, learning to walk not only is a big developmental step for your sweet pea’s muscles and posture; she’s also taking steps towards independence. Although the range of “normal” for when babies begin to walk is wide, generally around her first birthday is average. Just remember to try not to compare your wee little one’s progress with other babies her age. Each child develops differently, from walking at 8 months to walking closer to her second birthday.
To walker or not to walker
The debate wages on, but regardless of which side of the baby gate you’re on in regards to the safety of walkers, the fact still remains that those chubby little thighs you love to squeeze will take longer to develop if sitting in a walker. If you choose to go the way of the walker, remember to balance floor time with walker time to encourage muscle development in the places her body needs it to get moving on her own.
Tips for encouraging walking
As they are coaxed along excitedly by family members, babies can become more confident to let go of whatever they’re holding on to for support and head for their cheering section. But, try not to get discouraged or push your child too hard, because, “some babies beginning walking really soon after barely crawling, however, other babies need more time,” says Meri Ramey-Gray, author of 'Babies' Guide to Parents (and Other Important People). “What you want to look for is the baby wanting to 'pull-up' on furniture or people.”
Still anxious to see her take her first steps? Here are a few ways to help encourage your future walker to keep trying:
- Maximize time that she’s unrestricted by car seat and highchairs when not necessary
- Coax her away from furniture with a favorite toy, snack, or sippy cup
- Limit the sharp edges around her as she learns to pull herself up and cruise along those coffee tables, couches, and other stable objects
- Let her go barefoot as she learns to keep her balance
- Practice with push toys as she’s learning
- Be her biggest cheerleader and courage her with smiles and open arms
Late walker or sign of trouble?
If you’re worried that your babycakes is taking her sweet time getting up on two legs or letting go of support, there’s no need to worry about any future negative affects. “I am unaware of any information which correlates early or late walking to long-term motor development in children, but delayed walking may be frustrating for your baby because he is unable to independently explore his surroundings,” says Gay L. Girolami, PT, MS.
However, if you’re baby shows no interest in walking and does not pull up to a standing position by 16 months of age, or, when held up with support crosses her legs or holds them stiffly, Dr. Girolami suggests you bring it to your pediatrician’s attention to identify anything that may be hindering her progress. Keep in mind, though, that some babies do not walk until they are up to 22 months of age!
No matter which end of the “normal” range your child is on, remember to cherish the time she has on all fours. As soon as she is up and running, you’ll have to learn to keep up!
Read more on other developmental milestones: