Of all the many firsts during a baby’s first year, walking is one of the biggest developmental milestones, as it is a huge step towards independence. Typically, babies start to walk on their own at the age of 12 months but others begin earlier than that.
With that, there are factors that affect the age at which a baby starts to walk on her own, among which is the role of parents in helping their young children walk at an earlier age.
Teach your baby to walk
Before they can learn to walk, infants naturally follow a progression that includes sitting, rolling over, crawling, pulling up, and standing. With parents’ guidance, babies can breeze through these stages through practice and physical development.
Below are some ways you can teach your baby to walk.
Let her sit without any assistance
Have your child sit on a stool without any back support and assistance. But make sure you are nearby to keep your baby safe. Your child’s feet should be able to touch the floor so she can push against it with her hips and knees at a perpendicular angle.
Once she achieves this position, ask her to pick up a toy on the floor and then sit back on the stool. You can try various placements of the toys to improve your little one’s reach and various muscles.
By performing this activity, your baby is encouraged to move her feet apart for stability. At the same time, she exerts weight on her feet, improving her leg, shoulder, and back muscles.
Show things to catch her interest
By doing this, your little child is encouraged to move her head and neck which can strengthen her back muscles. Do keep in mind that aside from leg muscles, back muscles have a pivotal role in helping babies walk.
Another thing parents can do to strengthen their children’s back muscles is to let them lie on their stomachs. That way, babies can learn how to control their muscles, allowing them to start walking more quickly.
Let her cruise back and forth
Cruising is one of the fundamental steps for a child to gain mobility. This involves pulling oneself to a standing position and holding onto an object, say a piece of furniture while shuffling along.
One of the best objects for your child to “cruise” is a sofa or short bench. Just let your baby hold onto the sofa with one hand while she holds you with her other hand. Then let her shuffle back and forth along the furniture and practice walking.
You can place your child’s favourite toy on one end of the bench, which serves as a motivation for her to walk forward. As soon as your little one can handle the activity on her own, she will let go of your hand to practice alone.
Provide push or pull toys
Push or pull toys are more than just toys; they play a big part in helping babies walk. With these toys, young children can learn how to stand up, move, and maintain their balance.
Babies will be encouraged to play them since they come with music and lights that are totally entertaining. Provide at least one or two of these toys, and soon you will see your child standing on her own without assistance, improving her confidence and ability to walk.
Let her walk barefoot
Socks and shoes serve as your child’s first line of defence against cold and rough objects on the floor. But if you want your baby to start walking quickly, it’s best to let her feet left bare.
This is because your little one’s bare feet can hold onto the surface much better, unlike when she’s wearing socks and shoes.
Also, when your baby wears shoes, make sure that you check her feet to see if there’s any irritation. If you find one, it’s best to get rid of those shoes and look for a better pair that can help her focus on walking without experiencing skin issues.
Assist your child’s walking
When your baby begins to walk, make sure you know how to assist her. Just stand behind, hold your hands around her upper arms, and have her stand up by pulling one of her arms forward.
As soon as your little one rotates her hips to take a step, her feet will naturally follow. Always apply these procedures when your child is practising walking until she no longer needs your assistance.
Childproof your home
This is an essential thing to do because as soon as your baby begins to cruise or walk, she will go to places where there is fragile furniture, sharp corners, etc. As far as possible, keep those objects out of your child’s reach, and place safety gates at the bottom and top of your stairs. That way, your little one will not get hurt while exploring your home.
Seeing your child walk for the first time will be a special moment to remember. Aside from helping her walk, it’s important that your home is completely baby-proof to avoid injuries. With that, you will be able to witness your baby’s first steps without having to worry about problems down the line.
- Let her sit without any assistance
- Show things to catch her interest
- Let her cruise back and forth
- Provide push or pull toys
- Let her walk barefoot
- Assist your child’s walking
- Childproof your home
Also READ: Does your baby need a baby walker?