Having a baby is such an exciting time in your life and one to be cherished but it can be stressful too. You can feel a lot of pressure for your baby to reach certain milestones quickly especially from other parents, including walking and talking. You should remember that all babies are different and they develop when they are ready to do so.
Some babies will work at 12 months and some at 17 months, both these are completely normal! Saying that, there are some things you can do as a parent to encourage your baby to take those first steps into independence. Let’s take a look at the top 5 tips you can do to help your baby learn to walk.
1. Use A Toy To Entice
Babies are very visual and respond positively to things they enjoy in their life. Get a favorite toy of your baby and place it just out of reach of them (making sure it’s in a safe and stable area however). They will be much more motivated to stand if they see something they want but can’t quite reach it yet. Standing is the first step to walking and you shouldn’t even be thinking of your little one walking, if they are not pulling their body up yet.
When they pull themselves up onto the stable piece of furniture where the toy is located, they should feel the surge of confidence they need to walk along it. Be sure to use encouraging language when you are speaking to your little one and if they do manage to take a few steps (whether unaided or otherwise) be sure to tell them how well they are doing. Your baby might not be in the mood to stand or walk that particular day and if that’s the case, that’s fine – they get bad days just like we do!
2. Practice With Holding Their Hands
The majority of babies who are not walking yet have the capability to do it, they just don’t have the confidence. They need to realize that they have legs and they also need to feel your support as a parent. Practice standing your baby up and also sitting them back down again, with you holding their hands the whole way through. They might be scared to fall or just not know how to bend their legs and sit down again.
Once you’ve mastered standing with your little one, hold their hands and walk them around the room. Having you nearby will give them the motivation to eventually walk by themselves and they’ll start to realize if they do fall down, it’s not a big deal. They will soon get the confidence they need to move on to the next level!
3. No Shoes At All Are Best For Walking
When your baby is just learning to walk, it’s recommended that you do not put any shoes on them. Shoes will just make the process even more complicated because they have extra weight to carry around with them. Indoor shoes for babies can be very slippery on many surfaces and the outdoor shoes can be heavy and uncomfortable.
Bare feet is best when they are just starting to cruise around the furniture but you should obviously make sure there is nothing on the floor that they could hurt their feet on. I recommend having them walk on carpeted area when they don’t have shoes on but the wooden floor is fine also, as long as you don’t have them walking for too long. Once your baby has started walking and is more confident in doing so, then you can introduce shoes into the equation just to take things up an extra notch.
4. Get A Jumper For Baby
A jumper will help your baby get the support they still currently need when they are going through the transition from crawling – standing – walking, while also motivating them to put their feet on solid ground. These jumpers usually come with fun toys for your baby to play so this will seem like just a fun game to them. They’ll be so excited by the toys that they’ll also be eager to jump which is so beneficial to their physical development.
Using a jumper for baby will help to make their legs stronger, give them more confidence and hopefully ensure that they walk when they should. There are many great and effective jumper for baby online, so compare prices and purchase one that’s right for you today.
You can also use a baby walker to help your baby get used to walking, just check around for the best baby walker to ensure that you get a sturdy baby walker that will meet your baby’s needs and safety requirements.
5. Expect Stop And Starts Along The Way
Your baby is yet to realize that walking is a priority in life so you need to expect many struggles along the way. They might try very hard for a week or so before giving up and being preoccupied with something else in that time. All they need is your encouragement and more importantly, your positivity during that time.
Keep trying to make up fun standing/walking games and keep giving them that motivation that they need. Clap and make a big fuss when your baby makes progress on the walking journey. When your baby isn’t doing so well, don’t let your stress show just have fun with your little one and it will happen with time.
Now that you know some tips and tricks for helping your baby learn to walk when they are physically and mentally able to do so, this should help you during the process. Try not to get too stressed about the situation however, your baby will walk when he/she is ready. When you are not expecting it, your little one will go from 0 to 100 and then the fun will begin!
Don’t compare your baby to other babies, there are lots of factors that go into them reaching milestones not just how old they are. If your baby reaches 18 months however and is still not walking, it’s probably a good idea to visit your local doctor/health visitor to further advise you, put your mind at rest or refer you for further help if needed.
About The Author
Crystal is the founder of MakeYourBabyLaugh. She wrote the blog to help parents who are struggling to raise their children. She hopes that her experiences in child-rearing can inspire and help parents overcome their parenting struggles.
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Also published on Medium.