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Getting your baby to walk is an exciting endeavour as you can see how your child tackles problem-solving. It is exciting but requires patience from you and the baby, with the transition from crawling to walking, taking a few months.
At What Age Do Babies Start Walking?
When babies are born, their leg muscles are ill-equipped to carry the weight of their bodies. They need to develop these, which happens as they grow older. On an average, a baby can take their first few steps within a year. However, they are still clumsy, and it can take a few more months before they can start walking without assistance. There are even instances where a baby may take about 18 months to learn how to walk. This is no cause for alarm, and once they start walking, it’ll be hard to get them to stop.
Common Signs That Indicate Your Baby Will Walk Soon
1. Overcoming Obstacles
Walking on two legs is difficult for babies as their muscles are ill-equipped to for this. However, if you notice your child frantically trying to overcome obstacles by going over them, they’re one step closer (no pun intended) to walking. This is because they are making use of their leg muscles and strengthening them in the process.
2. Taking A Stand
When you see your baby trying to lift themselves off the ground, you know the day is near. They would use make use of their arms to hold on to raised platforms to pull themselves up or support their efforts. The raised platforms could be anything, from furniture to even your leg. However, they would still be unable to stand independently.
Once they’re confident that they can get up without support, they’re going to attempt to walk immediately. However, just like riding a bicycle, it can’t be done on the first go and are likely to fall. This is when you help them by assisting them while walking. Going back to the bike example, they need your help like training wheels so that they can balance themselves while walking.
Handholding is fine, but your child is determined and isn’t going to wait for you to help them out. They’re going to find anything sturdy like walls or pieces of furniture to keep them off the floor and balance themselves.
Once they can stand without any external support, it is only a matter of time before they start walking. Balance is something that they are yet to master, but they know it well enough to stay upright independently. Soon, you shall find your child performing daredevil acts like jumping, climbing stairs and other activities to improve their balance.
Encouraging Your Baby to Walk
- One of the first children walking sign is them making attempts to crawl. Give them more floor time so that they can start exercising their muscles.
- Use motivators such as their favourite toy. Place them on one end of the room and the toy on the other end. When they crawl all the way to one side, put the toy on the other end. While it may sound frustrating for the child, remember they will be quite thrilled knowing they can crawl and get the toy independently.
How to Help Baby Walk Independently
- You can improve their balance by gradually improving the difficulty level as they get better. First, hold them with both your hands while they walk. Once they have a good grip, only use one hand. After that, let them grab on to your clothes as they walk and finally just stand close-by in case they fall. Keep in mind these tips to make your baby walk.
- Too much clothing or even tight clothing can constrict the limbs which can make it difficult for them to regain balance. Let them put on their birthday suit so that they can have full mobility.
- Initially hold them on by the upper trunk and gradually move on to the hips. You can also hold them by the fingers to give them proper direction.
What If Your Baby Doesn’t Walk?
This is an abnormal situation, and most paediatricians suggest that most times, the problem is in the environment. This could be because both parents are working and do not have time to encourage the baby to start walking. Then there is the other extreme, where parents are overindulgent. The baby is treated on par with royalty and carried everywhere, meaning minimal exertion.
Can You Use a Baby Walker?
At face value, a baby walker may seem like a good idea as it increases the mobility of a child.
Baby walkers also come equipped with toys and are likely to keep them content. However, a child’s first walk is likely to be delayed by baby walkers as many studies have shown. Not only do that, but they also put your child at risk. A baby walker increases your child’s range, which may lead them to the kitchen and other accident-prone areas.
Your role is critical in your baby’s development and with the right approach you can even shave off a few months from the learning process. Make sure the child practices a little every day with support, and you will be rewarded with the sight of your little one discover the joys of exploring the world independently.
Also Read: Teaching Your Kids to Write