When Kim Lee’s firstborn began walking at nine months, she was super happy to see her little one skip crawling and find his footing so quickly.
However, when it came to her second-born, things were a little different. The baby girl crawled between nine and 15 months, and it wasn’t until her 16th month that the toddler took her first steps. It was way longer than her older sibling. So, two babies from the same mother achieved the same development at different periods.
This is not unusual.
As parents, it’s normal to worry about your child not meeting their key development milestone at 12-months-old. While some babies may get there earlier, others take a bit longer. Every child has a different development rate, so learning to walk late is no different. The important thing is that your child meets that milestone eventually.
While some babies started walking from as early as nine months, most babies don’t start toddling before 13 months. But if you’re worried about your 15 month old not walking independently, here’s what you need to know.
5 Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Walk
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1. Pulling up to stand
Babies will show signs before they are ready to take their first big step. They start pulling objects, especially furniture to stand, which is exactly why all your furniture needs to be tied down.
Standing up helps boost the little one’s leg muscles and coordination, and over time they gain enough strength to stand on their own. Once they achieve enough confidence, they will move forward to take their first wobbly step.
2. Trying new things
Babies are naturally fearless and the more new things they try, the more confident they will be. So, if you see your baby trying to get off the bed on their own or stand and jump off the sofa, it’s a sign that they are ready to take the next step.
At the same time, you will need to constantly be on alert mode and protect them from hurting themselves.
3. Holding furniture to move around
As babies grow, their horizon does too and they want to explore more things around the house. So, in the initial days of learning to walk, toddlers will hold furniture or the wall to move around the house.
It’s termed ‘cruising’ and your tiny sport will learn how to shift weight and balance while taking steps. It also prepares the little one the ability to propel forward. Make sure all the objects in their path are secured in one place and won’t topple over.
4. Change in sleeping patterns
Kids will also be a little extra fussy when learning to walk. They will sleep a little longer, as well as cry and whine a little louder than before.
You will also notice a change in their sleeping patterns, which is a sign that your baby is ready to become a big boy.
5. Standing on their own
And finally, you know your kiddo is ready to take the first step when they learn to stand on their own. It’s a big accomplishment for them and you should encourage them as much as possible.
Read: Parent’s Guide: Baby Proofing Your House
How To Encourage Your Baby To Walk?
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If you’re still worried about your 15 month old not walking independently, here some encouragement techniques to help them take the first step.
1. Deliver praise
Praise every achievement of your child to make the first step. Lend a helping hand when needed and be the support they need you to be.
2. Comfort their fall
Falls will be a big part of learning how to walk. Some will be harmless while others could end up in tears. That’s why it’s important you make an open and safe space around the house for your toddler to explore. At the same time, comfort them when needed and encourage them to try again.
3. Create challenges
Challenge your baby to try walking on different surfaces, walk up and down the ramp or an uneven surface. It will help your child to build more balance and muscle strength.
What To Avoid
1. Infant walkers
These are considered dangerous by experts globally and parents best need to avoid these. This is based on the belief (and some cases of accidents) that pushing a child to walk before their body is actually ready for it can cause more hindrance to development than benefits.
Although some who use or advocate baby walkers believe they can assist in a baby’s development, especially related to walking.
2. Avoid imposing your milestone goals
Be mindful that babies have their own development cycle and that can be early or late. So, if your little one is not achieving the milestone that you have in mind, it’s not the baby’s fault.
It can frustrate you and can create a negative experience altogether.
15 Month Old Not Walking Independently: When Should You Be Concerned
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The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the baby needs to take the first steps by 18 months and walk steadily by age of two years.
So if your baby hasn’t achieved this yet, it could be due to some other reasons including developmental and neurodevelopmental disorders. Here are some of the issues you need to speak to your paediatrician about:
- Developmental hip dysplasia
- Soft or weak bones (rickets)
- Muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy
If your doctor is able to diagnose any of these issues, your baby may undergo treatment accordingly. However, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, “Children be screened for general development using standardised, validated tools at 9, 18, and 30 months and for autism at 18 and 24 months or whenever a parent or provider has a concern.”
So keep an eye on your baby’s growth milestones and seek help if you spot something amiss.
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