Teaching a Baby to Walk
Seeing your baby finally learn how to walk is perhaps one of the most joyful moments in raising a child. Indeed, many parents are so excited to see this happen that they sometimes find themselves rushing it before the baby is even ready, teaching them the basics even before their body can handle it. Children, on the average, learn to walk without any assistance by the time they reach 12 months of age. Before they get to this point in their lives, however, instead of teaching them to walk straight away, we should first look out for signs that the baby is ready for the task, all the while encouraging exercises that can strengthen their leg muscles and develop their motor skills.
In this tutorial, we will show you how to teach your baby the essential skill of walking. Take it slow and easy, and you and your kid should do fine.Before you start teaching your baby how to walk, you should first observe your child’s growth and see if they are hitting the normal milestones for development.
- According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Milestone Moments,” the baby should be able to hold their head up without assistance as soon as they hit four months old. You can see this happen if you lay your child on their belly; not only should they be able to lift their head, but they may also have the strength to lift their chest and roll over to their back. At six months, you should be able to see them learn to roll from their back to their abdomen.
- Now don’t stop there. Keep observing your baby’s physical and motor development. By eight or nine months, the baby should be able to sit up unassisted. This is a sign that the child’s back muscles are gaining strength, and soon, they will be able to learn to stand on their own. This culminates at 12 months old, when your baby is able to stand up without assistance and even try walking while holding on to supports like furniture and low railings. Some kids may even walk a short distance at that age.
- As your baby grow, be sure to pay your pediatrician a regular visit, and talk to them about the milestones your baby has met between appointments. Make sure to speak to them about observed signs of possible developmental delays as well; in particular, if your baby is not rolling over at six months or cannot stand on their own by 12 months, bring that fact to their attention.
Now, is your child, according to observable signs and your pediatrician, ready to walk? Well, the next step is to encourage the development of the right muscles as they grow. Your baby will learn to walk on their own, so the only thing you can do is make it easier for them. Here are some simple baby exercises:
- While awake, lay your one- to three-month-old baby on their belly. This will give them the opportunity to practice lifting their heads and strengthen their arms, back, neck, and shoulder muscles.
- Lay your baby on her back and stomach, frequently changing their position. Encourage them to roll over on their own by placing toys out of their reach.
- Allow your child to grip your fingers, after which, pull your baby to a standing position to help improve their leg strength. Make sure to support the baby as they stand as well.
- If your baby can sit on their own, teach her the simple game of rolling a ball back and forth. This will encourage the development of their motor skills.
- Give your baby plenty of room to move around the house. As soon as they are able to stand up and walk while cruising, rearrange the furniture rearrange the furniture in a fashion that encourage this behavior.
Shoes can make it hard for babies to take their first few steps, so make sure that you let them walk around indoors barefoot. Outdoors, you can opt for low-top shoes. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, high-top shoes can restrict ankle movement and may retard the development of muscle strength for balance and stability.
- Once your baby is able to walk for even a few steps, steer them to the direction where the surface is smooth, flat, and suitable for walking. You can give them a push toy for support if they are hesitant until they are steady enough to walk unassisted.