Between 4-15 months, your baby is going to start learning how to sit up and walk around the house all by herself. All through this extremely exciting time, your little one will gradually gain muscle strength and coordination along with learning how to roll and crawl. After that, your precious bundle of joy will move on to pulling himself up and even standing holding on to something.
As time passes by, it is only going to be a matter of gaining confidence – and a bit of balance. If truth be told, a majority of babies start taking their first steps before their first birthday, and most toddlers actually start walking unaided by the time they are 15 months old even though they may walk with uneven steps. As you may know, learning to walk is one of the most important achievements in your baby’s life because it paves the way for her to gain independence. For that reason, you may want to help your precious bundle of joy by encouraging her to walk. So if you truly want to help her take those first few steps, here are a few things that you should do:
7 Strengthen those back muscles
We all tend to think that leg muscles are the ones that are meant to assist us in walking. But, this is as far from the truth as it can get. That’s because the muscles that play the most important role in making it possible for us to walk happen to be our back muscles. It is for this reason that you should strengthen your babies muscles to make it easier for her to start walking.
In order to do so, it is highly recommended for you to encourage movement of head and neck by showing her things that you know will catch her interest. Apart from that, you should also give your baby some tummy time for this purpose to help her gain muscle control. With these exercises, it will be easily possible for you to help her get going even when she is just a few weeks old. For the record, you should give our baby at least 30 minutes a day on her tummy – whether you give it at once or break it up is completely your choice. Along with strengthening your baby’s neck and back muscles, this will go a long way in helping you prevent her from having a misshapen head too.
Gaining overall body control
For those who don’t know, babies work hard to gain control from the head down. For this reason, in order to help her achieve overall body control, it is vital for you to assist her in the development of her neck muscles. Yes, it may seem a bit floppy at first, but you will be able to help her out by letting her have lots of tummy time during the day.
6 Encourage movement by playing bouncy games
To get your baby walking, it is extremely important for you to give her lots of safe areas to practice moving around – of course this means you need to give her lots of chances to move too. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to limit the amount of time that your precious bundle of joy spends in cribs, strollers and any other equipment that may restrict her movement. Restricting your baby’s movements is only going to hinder her development, so make sure that you ignore it at all costs.
When you give your baby tummy time, you can encourage crawling by putting a favorite toy a bit out of reach. This way your baby will be motivated to move towards the object, thereby getting to learn how to crawl. Once she’s accomplished her crawling goals, you can start encouraging walking by getting her to ‘cruise’ along the furniture or by getting her to use a walking toy or wagon. Walking toys are particularly very beneficial because they typically have a bar around the chest height of a baby and are attached to a stable base with wheels. What your baby will need to do is to hold the bar for support and push the toy around for movement.
Bounce it up
This is basically an exercise that will help your little one develop core strength and balance. Get your hands on a ball that is big enough for your baby to sit on it without her feet touching the floor. Place your baby on the ball facing you and hold her hips for support. Without letting go, just roll the ball forwards and backwards and then side to side. Your baby will hold her trunk and upper body to maintain her balance and stay upright.
5 Get those cruise controls activated
If your child can stand up well but is unsure or afraid of what to do next, it is of utmost importance for you to let her practice figuring out how to go about things and balancing herself while walking around. The best thing to do in this regard is to line up stable furniture that will let her steady herself as she goes about. But while you are at it, make sure that your TV stand, coffee table and other such items around the house are childproofed so that your baby does not bump into sharp corners as she maneuvers herself.
If need be, you can also encourage your toddler to start ‘independent stepping’ by walking with her while letting her maintain her balance by holding her hands. Yes, this is going to involve a lot of bent-over, extremely slow walking around the room for you, but trust me it is going to go a long way in terms of helping your little one start walking. Oh, let’s not forget, the joy on her face when she starts walking independently is total going to make up for the occasional backache that you may end up with!
Become her companion – take things slow
The thing with your little one is that once she gains enough strength and balance, she is soon going to start cruising or moving along the room by holding on to furniture and other objects. Although you may have childproofed your place when she started crawling, it is highly recommended for you to do it all over again. As she starts standing up, you may find her crying for help at times. In such cases, just show her how to bend her knees and lower herself so she may feel much more secure in standing.
4 Try out activities that encourage her to walk
There are quite a few activities that you can try out in order to encourage your precious baby to walk. But before anything else, it is necessary for you to remember that learning to walk is a fairly natural process. However, there are things that you can do in order to encourage your little one to walk so she may start on with her adventures.
To get started, you should line up chairs side-by-side against the wall. While you are at it, make sure that the chairs are placed firmly against one another as well as the wall. Now, what you need to do is to place a toy on the top of the last chair and get your little one to reach out for the toy – encourage her to reach it on her own. As you do so, it is best to use something really colorful and interesting so that your baby would get attracted to it. Apart from that, when your little one is able to maintain a bit of balance, go outside or sit on the floor at your place and blow bubbles. As you do so, encourage your toddler to follow or blow them.
If you have a hula-hoop lying around, use it to get your baby to walk. For this, all you need to do is hold and guide your baby to step through it. However, if she is an infant who is just starting out, there is a good chance that she will crawl through it. No matter what she does, appreciate her efforts and she will feel motivated to try harder.
3 Help her balance
One of the most important things while walking is that of being able to maintain balance. As soon as your baby is able to sit up, it is best for you to start her on balance and coordination practice. For this purpose, get your hands on a ball and roll it towards and away from your baby. This is basically going to encourage your baby to maintain her balance while moving forwards and backwards and while moving from one side to the other. Apart from that, you should also make an effort to involve your little one in interesting activities that you know will get her to take a few steps. If your baby has started crawling, play a chasing game with her and chase her around as she crawls. This way, she will start crawling faster and will achieve better control of her legs and hands.
Children have a natural sense of curiosity and an ambition to walk and reach for things. Believe it or not, these attributes can go a long way in terms of enhancing their walking skills. To make the best use of these attributes of your baby, it is highly recommended for you to place your little ones’ favorite toys on a path and get her to see them. If need be, offer her a bit of support on the way so that her interest in reaching for her toys remains alive.
Let her stay barefoot
Babies tend to find it easier to walk barefoot. The reason is that a baby’s feet have the potential to grip the surface much more easily when they are left bare as opposed to when they are made to wear socks and shoes. Yes, it is important for you to put on socks and shoes when it is cold, but your baby may find it hard to walk in them.
2 A push toy is much needed
Things like a pint-sized lawn mower or a small shopping cart can work wonders in helping your child gain control as she grips it tightly and pushes it in front of her. The best part is that it will give her all the support she needs while working those legs and will also boost her confidence while refining her balance. For this purpose, it is highly recommended for you to buy her sturdy toys that have a handle or bar that she can lean on together with big wheels that make it just about impossible for her to tip over.
What makes giving your baby these toys to play with is that they can assist her a great deal in standing up. The moment she starts standing up on her own without much assistance, you can rest-assured that her confidence will double and she will put much of an effort in trying to walk. At this stage, giving her push or pull toys are of utmost importance. With these, you will be able to help your precious baby learn to move about while maintaining her balance. What makes them so interesting is the reward your little one will get from these toys – music being played to them by lights being turned on and off by the toy as she moves it around!
Keep her away from a walker
The utilization of walkers is highly discouraged by pediatricians across the world. If truth be told, research suggests that babies who are put in walkers have slower motor development and may end up with back problems too. The worst part about them is that walkers can roll down the stairs or even tip over, thereby causing serious injuries.
1 A few stops and starts should be expected
Walking doesn’t come easy for children – that’s one thing that you must admit. In case your child decides to immerse herself in other developmental achievements such as feasting on finger foods as she’s learnt to pick them up herself, or calling out the family pet’s name, there is a good chance that you will have to give her a bit more time in terms of starting to walk. In other cases, your little one may be so impressed by her zipping around skills that she may find walking to be slower and may not be interested in trying it out. Also, in case your child tumbles on something and injures herself while walking, she may go back to her crawling days all over again.
With that, you need to bear in mind the fact that each baby develops differently – they all have their own pace.For this reason, in case your little one doesn’t start walking by her first birthday, there isn’t much need for you to be concerned. The simple fact of the matter is that you can’t do much in terms of speeding up her development timeline besides making sure that she has a safe, supportive and fun environment to live in.
There are things you need to ignore
As your baby stars waddling around, there are a few things that should be ignored bearing in mind that they are totally normal. These include things like trips and falls, flat feet and a whole lot more. These are not a cause of concern – just bear in mind that your precious one is still refining her walking skills.