In the early days with baby, milestones seem to come around far too quickly. Sitting up, rolling over and crawling seem to arrive and pass in the blink of an eye. However, when it comes to walking, it can feel like it’s taking forever for baby to take their first steps.
It’s important to remember that all babies develop at different stages. So, just because your little one has reached the age where they could start to walk, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will. Generally speaking, babies take their first steps between 12 and 15 months. However, some develop at a faster rate, taking their first steps at just 9 months old, while others may take 18 months to master the skill.
Try not to be discouraged if your baby is taking longer to start to walk. It will come with time, but if you’re really worried there are a few things you can try to speed up the process. Here, you’ll discover some of the top tips to help your baby walk.
Help Strengthen The Muscles
It takes a lot of strength for baby to start walking, so it could just be they haven’t built up their muscles well enough yet. There are a few ways you can help with this, including making sure baby stays on their tummy for approximately half an hour each day.
The 30 minutes could be broken up throughout the day if they don’t have the attention span or they simply don’t want to spend a consistent 30 minutes on the tummy. This clever tip can be used as early as a few weeks after birth and it really helps to build up not just the back muscles, but the neck muscles too. There’s also the additional benefit that it helps to prevent a misshapen head.
You can also help build up baby’s muscles by showing them things which hold their interest. Moving objects around within their line of sight will also really help. It’s a common belief that the leg muscles would be the ones which need to be built up, but it’s just as important for the neck and back muscles to be strengthened too.
Consider Using A Push Toy
At one time, walkers were the go-to product to help encourage babies to walk, but they’ve recently come under fire for their potential negative side effects. If you’re worried about using a walker, a good alternative is a push toy.
These don’t constrict your baby, so they will help your little one strengthen both their arm and leg muscles. Think of toys such as pretend vacuum cleaners or even lawnmowers which your little one has to push along.
Another added benefit of these toys is the fact that they help with balance too. This is because they encourage baby to use a wider stance than usual. They’ll also help develop essential walking skills, such as having to back up the toys, or turn them around corners.
You can also encourage them to walk over to you while they’re using the toy. This gives them a focus and you can gradually increase the challenge y moving further away. Don’t forget to praise them enthusiastically when they do make it to you too. This will make them want to do it even more!
Start Placing Toys Further Away
If they’re struggling to get passed the crawling stage, one way to help is to start placing toys further away. They may still need to crawl towards them, but as they start needing to crawl further to reach their toys, it’s going to build up those muscles.
Teach Them To Bend Their Knees
If your baby is fine pulling themselves up and walking along holding furniture, you could help by teaching them how to bend their knees. If they haven’t mastered this yet, it could be one thing deterring them from walking.
This is because without bending the knees before they go back down to the floor, it could be traumatic for your baby. The hard fall can make them think twice about getting back up again. So, teaching them how to lower themselves down gently by bending the knees, can make a massive difference.
Help Them Master Those First Steps
If your baby can stumble a little, helping to support them while they take those first few steps can really help boost their confidence. Don’t try and go too far, just start off with a few steps at a time. You’ll soon find your baby starts holding their arms up towards you for you to help them go for a little walk.
With this tip, the key is to practice. The more you do it, the more confidence baby will get and it will become more like second nature.
Make Sure Furniture Is Stuck In Place
One thing that can deter baby from walking is if they try to hold onto something and it falls over. So, make sure any furniture they’re likely to use to pull themselves up and support their weight as they walk along, is firmly stuck into place.
It’s also a good idea to make sure there’s a nice, cushioned landing spot next to the furniture just in case they do topple over.
Encourage Walking Whenever Possible
If your baby can take some steps by themselves, it’s a good idea to start encouraging them to use their legs more. So, when you’re putting them down for example, try to place them into a standing position, rather than a sitting down one.
Overall, the main thing to remember is to be patient with baby. Walking isn’t always easy for your little one and children do develop at very different rates. So, don’t see it as a competition. The more practice your baby has, the more confident they’ll become.