Some babies are walking by the age of one, others take their time and delight their proud parents sometime beyond their fifteenth month.
The routes to walking can be varied, but there are a few things you can do to encourage your child when you can see he’s ready for those early steps to independence.
Crawling and shuffling
Whilst some babies might be preparing to crawl by posing on their hands and knees by around six months, most will start to scrabble or shuffle on their bottom by about nine or ten months. Some babies skip crawling altogether and go straight from shuffling to cruising. Whichever method helps your baby get around and explore his new world, encourage his attempts by playing games and talking to him, but also being vigilant about new areas of your home which need to be blocked off or made secure.
While your baby is building up the right muscles and sense of balance to stand, encourage upright positions as they feel right. Raise your leg and allow your baby to straddle it, with his feet firmly rooted to the floor. Let him bounce a little in these positions with you doing most of the work but his knees bending too.
Don’t pull your baby up to stand too much before he’s ready for it.
Most babies will cruise before they can walk. This is when their legs are strong enough for walking but they don’t have their balance quite right so they move along holding onto chairs, shelves, anything that’s the right height that they can grab. Make sure the kinds of support he will find around your home are secure and won’t fall on him if he grabs them to stand against. For some babies the first experiences of walking will come when they attempt to get between two objects they want to hold onto which are a little too far apart. They will take tumbles along the way, but make sure your child enjoys trying and feels it’s all part of the adventure rather than seeing it as failure.
Play fun games with your baby where you are supporting him standing and his daddy is an arm’s length away. At first he might tumble towards daddy’s arms, but gradually you will be able to sit further apart and your baby will begin to take his first steps. A proper, sturdy walking toy such as a trolley with bricks is a great way for your baby to start getting mobile as he lurches into toddlerhood. These are much better for his development than baby movers where your child sits inside a seat and can scoot in any direction on tiptoes, as this does not help your child put down the roots needs for solid posture in the months ahead.
Confident walking may be a way off, but most babies will start to walk between around 13 and 16 months. For some it may be much later but unless you have other developmental concerns, this is not necessarily a cause for worry.
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