Of all the many firsts during a baby’s first year, walking is one of the biggest developmental milestones, as it is a huge step towards independence. Typically, babies start to walk on their own at the age of 12 months but others begin earlier than that. With that, there are factors that affect the age at which a baby starts to walk on his/her own, among which is the role of parents in helping their young children walk at an earlier age.
Before they can learn to walk, infants naturally follow a progression that includes sitting, rolling over, crawling, pulling up, and standing. With parents’ guidance, babies can breeze through these stages through practice and physical development.
Below are some tips to encourage your little one to walk.
Have your child sit on a stool without any back support and assistance. But make sure you are nearby to keep your baby safe. Your child’s feet should be able to touch the floor so he/she can push against it with her hips and knees at a perpendicular angle. Once he/she achieves this position, ask him/her to pick up a toy on the floor and then sit back on the stool. You can try various placements of the toys to improve your little one’s reach and various muscles. By performing this activity, your baby is encouraged to move his/her feet apart for stability. At the same time, he/she exerts weight on his/her feet, improving his/her leg, shoulder, and back muscles.
By doing this, your little child is encouraged to move his/her head and neck which can strengthen his/her back muscles. Do keep in mind that aside from leg muscles, back muscles have a pivotal role in helping babies walk.
Another thing parents can do to strengthen their children’s back muscles is to let them lie on their stomachs. That way, babies can learn how to control their muscles, allowing them to start walking more quickly.
Cruising is one of the fundamental steps for a child to gain mobility. This involves pulling oneself to a standing position and holding onto an object, say a furniture while shuffling along. One of the best objects for your child to “cruise” is a sofa or short bench. Just let your baby hold onto the sofa with one hand while he/she holds you with his/her other hand. Then let him/her shuffle back and forth along the furniture and practice walking. You can place your child’s favorite toy on one end of the bench, which serves as a motivation for him/her to walk forward. As soon as your little one can handle the activity on his/her own, he/she will let go of your hand to practice alone.
Push or pull toys are more than just toys; they play a big part to help babies begin to start walking. With these toys, young children can learn how to stand up, move, and maintain their balance. Babies will be encouraged to play them since they come with music and lights that are totally entertaining. Provide at least one or two of these toys, and soon you will see your child standing on his/her own without assistance, improving his/her confidence and ability to walk.
Socks and shoes serve as your child’s first line of defense against cold and rough objects on the floor. But if you want your baby to start walking quickly, it’s best to let his/her feet left bare. This is because your little one’s bare feet can hold onto the surface much better, unlike when he/she’s wearing socks and shoes.
Also, when your baby wears shoes, make sure that you check his/her feet to see if there’s any irritation. If you find one, it’s best to get rid of those shoes and look for a better pair that can help him/her focus on walking without experiencing skin issues.
When your baby begins to walk, make sure you know how to assist him/her. Just stand behind, hold your hands around his/her upper arms, and have him/her stand up by pulling one of his/her arms forward. As soon as your little one rotates his/her hips to take a step, his/her feet will naturally follow. Always apply these procedures when your child is practicing walking until he/she no longer needs your assistance.
This is an essential thing to do because as soon as your baby begins to cruise or walk, he/she will go to places where there are fragile furniture, sharp corners, etc. As much as possible, keep those objects out of your child’s reach and place safety gates at the bottom and top of your stairs. That way, your little one will not get hurt while exploring your home.
Seeing your child walk for the first time will be a special moment to remember. Aside from helping him/her walk, it’s important that your home is completely baby–proof to avoid injuries. With that, you will be able to witness your baby’s first steps without having to worry about problems down the line.
Written by Reymart Sarigumba from iPrice Group