While the baby would eventually learn to walk on his own, parents should know how to encourage babies to walk so they can help the baby learn faster. Find out more health information for pregnant women, babies and kids at NewKidsCenter.com. Image courtesy of famveldman via Bigstockphoto.
Usually, a baby can start to walk on his own between the ages of 12 to 15 months. However, some babies start to walk as early as 9 months, whereas others start to walk after the age of 1 and a half years. There are several things which affect the age at which a baby begins to walk on his own, among which genetics is usually one of the most dominant. Despite the pivotal role of genetics, parents can also play a prominent role in making their babies start to walk at an earlier age.
How to Encourage Babies to Walk
1. Help Strengthen Back Muscles
Normally, we believe that leg muscles are the crucial muscles that help us to walk. This is not absolutely true because the muscles that have the central role in letting us walk are our back muscles. In order to strengthen back muscles, parents should encourage movement of head and neck by showing things that catch their interest. Another thing parents can do is to make their babies lie on their stomachs. All these activities will teach babies muscle control, and make them start to walk more quickly.
2. Practice Coordination
Balance is also of significant importance while walking. You can start your baby on coordination and balance practice after she is able to sit up. The best thing to do is to have a ball and roll it towards and away from your baby, which will encourage your baby to keep his balance while moving forward and back, and while moving from one side to the other.
3. Engage Your Baby in Games
You baby can learn to walk if you make him play fun games and involve him in interesting activities. You may play a chasing game in which you crawl to chase your crawling baby. In this way, he will learn to crawl faster and learn to better control his hands and legs.
4. Encourage Attempts at Reaching for Things
Doctors say that a baby’s ambition to walk and reach for things contributes a lot to his walking skills. You can place some of your baby’s favorite toys on a path and make him see them. You would have to support him on the way to make sure that your baby’s interest in the catching game remains alive.
5. Activate Cruise Control
Your baby might be able to stand, but he might be fearful of falling. You can alleviate his fears by placing furniture in the path where he is supposed to walk. You can also help your baby by offering him your hand. If you are placing furniture in your baby’s path, you must make sure that all those things do not have sharp lining and edges.
6. Learn to Assist Your Baby’s Walking
It is important that you know how to assist your child when he starts to walk. Initially, you must support your child above the ribs. When he has become stable, you should support the baby around the hips to ensure his core muscles remain strong and stable.
7. Try Push or Pull Toys
You can provide your baby with toys or objects which can help him stand up. As soon as he starts standing on his own without much assistance, his confidence will rise and so will his ability to walk. Push or pull toys can play a big part at this stage. Push and pull toys make your baby learn to move and keep balance. Such toys normally reward your baby by playing music or producing light while they are moving.
8. Go Barefoot
Babies walk easily barefoot, because their feet can grip the surface far more easily when left bare, as compared to when they are wearing socks and shoes. While socks and shoes are very important when the surface is cold, your child may find it hard to walk with them. Also, weird-looking shoes might not let your child concentrate on walking. When the baby wears shoes, you should check the baby’s feet frequently to see for irritated surfaces, and remove those shoes if you find any.
The baby would learn by himself when it is time to take his first baby steps, and thus you shouldn’t force the baby to walk at any stage no matter how eager you are to see him walk. You can obviously help the child strengthen his leg muscles by some simple measures like putting him on his back, bouncing him on the lap, and making him push your hands with his legs.
Safety Tips on How to Teach Babies to Walk
1. Don’t Use Baby Walkers
While making your child walk with a walker might seem the right choice, it may take much longer time for your child to learn to walk, as the child might not understand that his own feet can support his body. Moreover, the steps that your baby takes in a walker won’t actually take him forward, which will also confuse the baby. Walkers are even potentially dangerous for children, with Canada actually banning their sale because of the injuries they have caused to children. Thus, it’s best to not use walkers if you want your baby to learn to walk early.
2. Use Jumpers Sparingly
Jumpers are a better option as compared to baby walkers, as they strengthen the baby’s legs and give the baby confidence, while allowing the baby to learn how the body can move forward by moving the legs in a certain position. However, you should only use them sparingly. The reasons are twofold. First, jumpers are potentially dangerous for babies if nobody is watching over. Second, the baby might become dependent on the jumper and fail to learn the motor skills necessary to walk on his own.
3. Childproof Your Home
You should childproof your home because the baby would start to go to places he never goes to before once he takes his first steps. You should remove any furniture that is fragile, and put away small tables that have sharp corners. It would be best if you put safety gates at the bottom as well as the top of your stairs so that the baby doesn’t get hurt while moving up or down.