This past year, it was so much fun watching your baby learn and develop. You’ve seen them go from babbling to starting to sit up on their own to crawling all over the house and getting into it all. You’re probably waiting for them to start walking once your baby gets close to 1, and ready for all the fun experiences that it will bring.
The good news is that, with little support from you, these physical achievements usually proceed naturally. However, if you want your baby to start early or worry about your child not already hitting this milestone, there are a range of tips I will share on how to teach your baby to walk.
GROSS MOTOR SKILLS PROGRESSION
A gross motor ability is an activity that includes the use of larger muscle groups, such as arm, leg, and trunk muscles, in your body. This varies from fine motor skills that, like those in your hands or fingers, use tiny muscles.
In babies and toddlers, gross motor abilities include rolling, sitting up, crawling, standing, walking, running, tossing, jumping, and more. To generate these motions, they all use the muscles in their abdominals, thighs, and shoulders.
As those muscles get bigger and stronger, you’ll see your child go through each developmental stage. Through each movement and operation, the muscles of the baby grow and strengthen to prepare them for the next one.
Therefore, the muscles of the trunk and neck that are strengthened by rolling and tummy time assist your baby to start sitting up. Get your baby crawling on the abdominal and hip muscles that improve from sitting. Prepare the leg muscles your child uses to stand straight and prepare them for walking.
But before you think about teaching your child to walk, make sure they’re already starting to crawl and stand first.
WHEN SHOULD YOUR BABY START WALKING?
For a child to start walking, the average age is from 10-15 months. It’s such a large variety because all kids are growing at their own pace. If your child begins to walk on the end ranges or beyond this range, however, it is still not uncommon.
Before you’ve even had a chance to acknowledge that they’re almost a teenager, some kids will take off running. There are usually children who are fearless and outgoing. Since they’re a little more careful or shy, others might hold back on walking.
You’ll find that several new talents can be personality-based, rather than physical or mental-based.
This means that, if your child hits a milestone later than expected, it does not necessarily mean that their body or brain has a problem. They might just be the kind of kid who likes to take their time or can’t wait to get there quickly (which you would be thankful for in the long run).
Try not to think about comparing your baby to others and just concentrate on your child’s ability. It does not matter that at 10 months, your niece began to walk and your baby is 13 months old and still not standing independently.
About 9 months, my firstborn started cruising (walking along with furniture) and took her first independent steps just before her first birthday. My son is 13 months old now and has barely taken a few steps.
When they’re ready, a small child will be there.
If they hit a milestone late is not necessarily an indication of something wrong. However, if they are not walking and they are older than 15 months, make sure to contact the pediatrician.
For most children, walking will come naturally as they learn the strengths and limitations of their bodies. They’ll use trial and error to figure out what they can and can’t do. However, some may need a little bit more coaching to get there. Whether it be fear, confidence, or lack of practice, you can help your child get there sooner with these tips below.
BE SURE THEY HAVE MET ALL PREVIOUS MILESTONES
Before you expect them to walk autonomously, your child should already be able to crawl, stand while holding on, stand independently, and cruise (walk while holding on). Crawling does not, of course, have anything to do with walking, since some kids walk instead of crawling.
Oh, no socks. Oh, no shoes. Bare feet only. In the feet, there are tiny muscles that need to continue to build and strengthen and the only way to achieve this is to bear weight on them.
We have so many small muscles, like bipeds (animals that walk on two feet), that help us balance and give traction as we stand. The muscles in your feet have an easier time ‘grabbing’ the ground while you stand barefoot. In order to help your baby walk, this will help those little muscles work harder to find the right place to mold to the ground.
Not only does walking barefoot help with walking, but your kid also has a fantastic sensory experience. All the nerve endings can feel distinct surfaces and textures at the bottom of their feet. Such sensory impulses are sent to the brain and provide the feet with more consciousness. This can also assist with walking, too.
Get rid of both the soft soles of those baby crib shoes. They’re no longer going to work.
Your baby needs a shoe with a decent sole and ankle support. Know, the muscles of your ankle and lower legs have not been used that often by your baby yet, so you may need external help to get those muscles going.
While barefoot is the safest, your child will need shoes while you’re out and about. Also, since every child is different, your baby can not do well with bare feet, and with durable shoes may stand better.
Start small and don’t expect that when they first learn to walk, your child can jet through the living room. They will begin to take 1 or 2 steps slowly at a time. Stay really tight when you are teaching them. Right now, if they can only take 2 steps, do not sit 3 feet away from them. The gap increases progressively as they become more confident.
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