Things You Need to Know When Your Baby Starts Walking

Do you keep track of your child’s milestones? If so, then you probably listed walking among them. It is without a doubt a major one because it indicates that your child is one step (no pun intended) ahead towards independence.

So what will you do when you start recognizing the signs that he/she is about to walk? Take out the camera, of course! But kidding aside, you have to be prepared with what you have to do and what you have to avoid doing.

You can start with walkers. Search the market for the best walker for baby learning to walk and choose a model that fits your personal criteria. Although walkers are controversial, there are still some benefits as long as your child uses it for short durations under proper supervision.

Besides walkers, you also need to be aware of the signs themselves. Is your baby really ready to walk or are you just rushing him/her because his/her peers are starting to? But do not fret, we’ll walk you through this.

At What Age Can Babies Walk?

Before we give you the numbers, understand that babies differ in their milestone timelines. Some are late bloomers, and some can walk earlier than the majority of children. Typically, babies can walk between the ages of 9 and 12 months.

At 6 months, you’ll notice that your baby loves to bounce up and down when you stand him/her on your knees. You’ll also notice that when you hold your baby upright, his/her dangling feet will push against the surface as part of reflex. During these times, they are developing their muscles. Of course, physical development is essential since, without it, it will be impossible for babies to carry their body.

It is also worth noting that before a baby can walk, he/she first have to do 4 movements on his/her own. You could think of these movements as stages, and all of them are important in the child’s overall physical coordination. What are these movements? Usually, before walking at 9 months of age, a baby can already sit, roll over, crawl, and stand independently. And after walking, you can guide your baby to bend his/her knees to sit after standing.

However, as we have said earlier, some children will not start walking even after their first birthday. The age that this usually happens is around 18 months. But you have no reason to be alarmed if your little one takes some time. Once he/she starts walking, it’ll be a continuous process. Now, if you think that there might be some health issues regarding your child’s delayed walking, never hesitate to consult your pediatrician.

What are the Signs That Your Baby is Learning to Walk?

  • The most common sign that your baby is going to walk is when he/she starts cruising. This means that your baby is keen on exploring around the room while holding on different places for support. Cruising is also advantageous because it strengthens the child’s leg muscles as he/she uses them.
  • When your baby leans on an object for support and then tries to do it independently by moving away from it.
  • When your baby uses elevated objects to lift themselves up.
  • When your baby, as we have mentioned earlier, can stand up without support in an open space. They might still fall, but that’s part of the learning process.
  • When your baby steps or crawls towards you or towards a familiar person.

What are the Ways to Help Your Baby Walk?

  • You can start by guiding your baby around by holding his/her hand, although, it is common for babies to attempt walking by themselves, having you near will give them an extra boost. A great tip is to start with both hands then use one. There are even babies who prefer to be supported on their upper trunk, hips, or fingers.
  • There are random opportunities that you can take advantage of and turn it into a walking lesson. For example, let your child have some time to walk beside you at the park instead of keeping him/her in the stroller. You can also help him/her onto the stairs to improve his/her balance. These examples are great because they increase the walking difficulty and keep your child interested.
  • Crawling is one of the initial steps for walking, so you can give your child some time on the floor. You can motivate him/her to move by putting some toys for him/her to reach. You can also hold your arms out and let your child come to you.
  • Baby-proof everything within your child’s eye level. Expect him/her to have access to new things and areas as he/she learns to walk. You can also line up stable things that your child can hold onto.
  • For motivation, push toys, or even sit-to-stand walkers have different features to encourage your child to walk.
  • Expand his/her walking area and do not limit your child in a playpen. It will inspire him/her more when he/she discovers new places with various textures from grass to sand.
  • Show your child how to sit back down by bending his/her knees. It might seem ridiculous, but it is typical for babies not to know how to sit down after they have walked. Try not to sit them and instead, show them how to do it.

What are the Don’ts in Walking?

  • As mentioned in this study, baby walkers can delay motor and mental development. The reason is that walkers bypass the necessary visual feedback. This is a consequence from the plastic tray in walkers that prevent babies from seeing their feet as they walk.

It is also concluded from this study that the usage of walkers in long durations can delay mental development. However, further research is necessary to say that walkers are the only factor that played a role in these developmental delays.

  • Never rush your baby if he/she is not ready to walk. Under supervision, let your child practice. If all he/she can do is two steps forward, give him/her praise. Keep in mind that walking is a new and intimidating experience for babies.
  • Your baby does not need any special walking shoes. In fact, going barefoot is the best choice. It improves balance and coordination, helps in developing your child’s arches, and muscle tone on his/her ankles and feet.
  • Try not to become one of those parents who habitually carry their children. We understand how scary it might be especially when they cry from falling and tumbling. But the thing is, these moments also allow them to correct themselves.

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