All children are individual, and they usually develop in different ways. Some babies start walking by 9 or 10 months, while other ones – by a year or more. Besides, there are even kids who are just afraid of letting go of mum’s hand and going without any support.
It is considered to be a norm when a baby begins to walk from nine months up to one and a half year, and the average age is 12 months.
So, the question is how to teach a baby to walk? In this article, we will try to figure out how to prepare your toddler for his first steps, develop his independence, confidence, and interest in walking.
The development of a new-born baby really depends on what has been laid over his first months. Therefore, before teaching a child to walk independently, parents have to prepare the child’s body for further exertion. Soon, you will definitely notice the difference. A kid, who moves a lot and behaves actively during the day, will begin to walk faster than his phlegmatic age-mates.
There are very simple procedures that will accelerate the learning process of walking for an infant. But if you want to see a quick and good result, you have to implement them together with your little one every day.
Laying out of the baby on his belly. You can start doing it since the second or the third week of baby’s life. The infant has to spend his time in this position not less than 10 minutes. So, it will help him to strengthen his muscles of the neck and back.
With two months old kids you can practice turnings over from one side to another one.
Active movements. Starting with four and six months, a baby tries to sit down with the help of parents, and by 8-9 months he can sit without any support. Not to be in one and the same position you can offer your toddler to reach some toy or just crawl to it. It can be a teddy bear or any his favorite toy. In this case, a toddler will have a stimulus to move more.
Developing strong muscles. To stand and walk in a proper way babies should have quite firm legs. For this purpose, parents have to teach them how to bend and unbend their knees, jump together with them. Remember that the first walking steps can be delayed if the muscles of the child’s legs are too weak.
Besides, good training for babies is to jump on the parents’ knees, squat with the support of parents, stand to lean on something (it can be some item of furniture) or someone. The daily implementation of such exercises will definitely accelerate the physical development of a baby.
First Walking Steps and Things to Help a Baby Walk
When babies start walking and demonstrating their self-dependence many parents make up different ways how to teach a child to walk. For this reason, we’ve prepared a list of things below which will be handy for both parents and toddlers who are eager to walk as soon as possible.
A Push Toy
The baby boys will be happy to walk and push a big toy car in front of them, while the girls can grab a doll stroller and roll it forward. Such toy exercisers will help babies to practice walking with ease and make it funny and not boring.
Besides, according to doctors, the position of baby’s foot is much more natural than when using a baby walker. The benefit of such push toys is quite big, as it allows the child to move around without the help of adults, a toddler doesn’t lose balance and self-confidence.
Above all, a little one should feel parent’s support during this period. Teaching the child to walk, always choose interesting routes. For example, you can take baby’s hand and go together to see who got back home after work. Children will happily take their first steps, holding on their parents’ hand while adults support the baby’s armpits.
Keep Your Tot Barefoot
Don’t buy any shoes for your baby learning to walk. It is recommended to start teaching your baby to walk barefoot. It will help him to develop muscles in feet and ankles and improve motion coordination.
If you are afraid that a barefoot crumb can catch a cold, then you can put him on socks with a special rubber sole that prevents baby from slipping or falling on the floor. Now parents may find the rugs with different bulges that massage and strengthen baby’s legs at the same time. So, you can quickly teach your toddler to walk on them.
Encourage With the Help of Toys
Using toys may be very encouraging for tots to walk. Put a toy on the bed, floor or some other place and ask your baby to stand and reach it.
The Choice of Shoes
The choice of shoes has to be taken very seriously as it really depends on how quickly a tot will start walking. A baby should wear shoes with great pleasure, and therefore, you should pay attention to the following points.
Parents don’t have to buy larger shoes for a growing baby. Only the right size of shoes will make your baby feel comfortable during walking.
It has to be elastic with arch support that does not slip.
3. Heel height
It should not be low.
The proper shoes should be made of high-quality and breathable material. It may be leather, suede or natural fabric.
The best one is a sticky clasp which is more convenient to use.
Fitball can also become a handy assistant in baby’s everyday life. Before starting using it ask your pediatrician what exercises can be done by your little one. Spend up to ten minutes a day on practicing fitball exercises with your tot.
The result will not take long. The baby’ coordination and the ability to maintain balance will be developing, and back muscles and abs will be strengthening.
Manner of Walking
It’s very essential to pay attention to how your child walks. Of course, the gait of the baby is not like adults’ gait since children put their feet in a parallel position and do not know how to roll them from heel to toe.
This is a normal phenomenon and only time and practice can fix such funny pace.
But if your child continually tiptoes and even does not try to stand on the whole foot, then it is advisable to consult with a specialist to find out the reason for this.
Freedom of Movements
It’s essential for a child to perform a large variety of movements. Therefore, encourage him in every possible way for versatile games. Let a baby climbs, jumps and overcomes different obstacles. If he fell down, do not rush to raise him immediately.
Let him try to climb by himself on his legs.
From Even Surface to Uneven
Parents usually begin to teach their kids to walk on the flat and even floor. If you noticed that your child walks around rather confidently allow him to move on the uneven and sloping surface. It will improve your baby’s balance and motor coordination.
Placement of Furniture
Safely put the furniture without any sharp edges for kids to walk around. Remove all unnecessary chairs or any other items of furniture that can prevent your tot from moving easily. It is highly recommended to place the furniture into a line once a kid starts cruising because they use it as a support.
After a while, allow a toddler to let go of the furniture while he is cruising. Soon, he will be walking and holding on parents with one hand.
Baby Walkers and Jumpers
Very often busy parents are interested in how to ease the way of learning a baby to walk. At the present time, there is a great variety of baby products that are worth mentioning.
We will stop on the baby walkers and baby jumpers in particular.
Nowadays the using of these modern devices is rather controversial. Many specialists stick to the idea that the milestone of baby’s active walking should occur naturally, and do not have to be limited by the seat of the baby walker or jumper. Besides,there are a lot of parents who love modern baby products, and pediatricians usually recommend them to replace baby walkers into baby exersaucers.
But despite all these warnings a high number of parents continue using baby walkers and jumpers for their kids. Both of them develop and give a good load on the kids’ musculoskeletal system. Active movements in the baby walker help to strengthen baby’s legs’ muscles, and it has a really positive effect on the whole baby’s body system. More information about the usage of baby walkers you may find in our article “Top 9 Baby Walkers“.
What concerns baby jumpers, they help toddlers to develop their muscles of the legs, arms, strengthen their spine, and improve coordination of movements. So, it’s up to you whether to use such baby products or no. But the best way is to combine usual learning and using popular devices.
But keep in mind that baby walkers and jumpers aren’t suitable for tots who still don’t know how to sit on their own.
Tips for Parents
In the process of teaching a baby how to walk, parents’ psychological mood always plays a very important and integral part. That’s why adults have to follow some tips not to discourage their toddlers from walking. First of all, remember that all kids are different and individual. Don’t be angry at your kid if he isn’t a quick learner while the other one is making progress very fast. Be patient, always praise your tot even if he makes some mistakes.
If the baby often stumbles, falls and does not want to let go of the father’s or mother’s hand during a walk, you can consult with a pediatrician. Sometimes a crumb cannot walk on his own because he has some eye problems. It this case, it’s advisable to visit an ophthalmologist.
You constantly have to arouse the child’s interest in walking, show your own example. This is one of the most effective ways to help a baby walk without any support. Use your imagination and creativity to carry away your child a lot.
To sum it up, a learning process of walking is a critical stage of baby’s physical development. It’s not simple, but if you follow all the tips mentioned above, it will make it easier and interesting for both parents and kids. What is very important is when a child learns to walk, it is better to do it barefoot on different surfaces. Walking barefoot develops baby’s stability and promotes proper development of the arch of a foot.
But the main point how to help a baby learn to walk is your support and of course praise for his achievements. Be both a good assistant and a trainer for your tot. After all, parents’ smile and their kind words are the best rewards for him.