My son has hit a new, exciting developmental milestone and we are incredibly proud of him. He went from tummy time to crawling to walking — it’s a lot to do for someone who has only lived a little over one year, but he accomplished it!
From the time he was in the 7- 9 month range, he was able to stand while supporting himself and also was crawling everywhere. He eventually became so quick that I’d consider him a master crawler around 10 months because he could get to anything in a matter of seconds.
Around his 1st birthday he was taking few steps, but only if we supported him up by hand or walker. He was cruising around our furniture mostly, just hanging on. He could walk 5-8 steps from the edge of the couch over to us.
Just a few weeks after that, he had the confidence to finally just “let go” and walk all on his own without my husband or I on the other end waiting to catch him.
If you have a baby that will be in the walking stage soon, here are some tips to encourage him or her to walk:
1) Strenghten their legs early on
You can work on strengthening their legs early by holding and supporting them up so they can bounce. Bouncing will strengthen their legs and allow them to work on their coordination.
Any opportunity we could give our son to stand, we would. Most of the time he would sit back down to crawl, but eventually he would pull himself up to stand.
3) Cruising along
The couch is a perfect place to let them hang on the edges and cruise along, step by step. I think it actually helps them with getting the feel of balancing. Eventually, they will also move along other pieces of furniture or anything they can walk around and hang onto such as play structures, tables, etc. Just ensure it is safe!
4) No socks
We have soft carpet in our upstairs rooms and hardwood floor downstairs. Most of the time we didn’t put socks on him if we were home because 1) they are slippery on floors and 2) bare feet help them feel and grip the floor
5) Give them a mat, carpet, or grass (if manicured) to fall on
Of course baby will be falling a lot, so it’s only natural to want them to have some good cushioning when they do. We have two different kinds of mats in our home. This non-toxic foam baby play mat is upstairs in his room. We have another thicker non-toxic mat that we absolutely love. It sits on a small section of our downstairs area over our hardwood floor. The mat is by Creamhaus.
6) Different environments, new incentives
Taking baby to different places will excite them and make them want to naturally check out new things. An open area of grass such as a park that has a play area nearby is a great option. We also take baby to an activity/gym center where he can interact with other children in an environment that enables fun and exploration.
There are so many different types of walkers, ones that have bright colors and fun music when you push it to walk. They are definitely a helpful incentive to get baby to learn.
8) Use toys
Using smaller toys as incentives is great because baby will grip objects or toys to hold onto. It lessens him or her reaching for support and keeps them engaged so they’re not thinking about falling.
9) Play with others to keep up
I believe the more your baby is around older children, they pick up walking much faster. It seems to me when a baby has an older sibling or is around other children, they just mimic and learn to keep up. Let your baby play with their siblings, cousins, or do play dates with others.
10) Lots of praise
Constant cheering and praise such as telling your child they are doing a good job is going to get baby to want to do more and feel good about it. I believe that showing excitement for the little things they accomplish and giving gentle encouragement will definitely help give them the drive to continue to try. They will be falling a lot through the process, but still smiling as they learn.
Overall, I think giving them opportunities and letting them be independent encourages them to figure it out in their own time. I hope these 10 tips help encourage you when your baby is starting to learn to walk. They may seem simple, but it’s always the little things that matter.
One thing we moms need to remember is that babies do their thing at their own pace. Some will walk at 9 months, some at 12 months, some at 14 months, etc. Some babies will even skip crawling altogether! You just never know. There is nothing wrong with with the timing of when it happens and what is important is that you don’t force it on your child. Your baby will do it when he or she is ready.
Although we want them to advance, we should really cherish the stage when they can’t quite walk all over the place yet. Once they do, they may not want to be held as much anymore because those tiny little legs want to be active! My big boy is now more curious, confident, and determined than ever. The bright side is I’m burning calories chasing him around! My little independent boy. Sniff, sniff!