Why is my child taking so long to learn how to walk?
A reader compares her first born and second child in terms of motor skills development. Read what Dr Janice Wong has to say.
Why has my younger child developed considerably slower than my first born in terms of learning to walk, etc?
Answer from Dr Janice Wong:
Children typically start walking between the ages of 12 to 15 months. However, all babies develop at different stages, and your younger child taking a longer time to walk as compared to her sibling might not be a cause for alarm. Although most babies typically learn to crawl before they walk, some progress straight from sitting to walking.
Here are some steps that can help you encourage your child to take her first steps.
1. Let your child set her own pace
Don’t hurry or pressure your child, allow her to set her own pace and she will walk eventually.
2. Allow your child to practice walking
Your child’s muscles need to strengthen before she can walk confidently. Re-arranging your furniture to allow her to hold on to something when walking across the room can help her gain enough confidence and strength. You can even help by supporting your baby into a standing position by holding her arms.
3. Encourage your child
Be positive when your child is learning to walk. Smiling and cheering her on when she is trying will encourage her to continue. Don’t discourage her when she fails; if you look concerned, she might pick up on that too.
4. Don’t give up
Sometimes, your child’s progress might seem to stop or go back a step – this is common. Continue to encourage her and she will gain back her confidence.
Answered by: Dr Janice Wong, Thomson Paediatric Centre
About Dr Janice Wong
Dr Janice Wong graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree in 1996. Her post-graduate qualification includes a Membership of The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, United Kingdom, with a distinction in paediatric medicine. She is also a Member of the Singapore Paediatric Society, Asian Oceanic Child Neurology Society and Australia/New Zealand Child Neurology Society. Dr Wong has undergone advanced training in paediatric neurology and neuro-rehabilitation. In Singapore, she is the only trained neuro-rehabilitation physician, and the first paediatrician in private practice able to perform botulinum toxin therapy for spasticity disorders in children.