Nothing feels good like watching your baby achieve a milestone from holding their head to sitting to crawling and now holding on to things to walk. I am a mother of a two-year-old son, and I honestly understand what it takes to see a baby achieving a new milestone at the right time.
Your baby is approaching a year now or is past that, and you are worried that he has not hit this major development milestone. Take it easy; a year is so soon to worry.
This article will take you through walking stages, signs that your baby wants to walk, how to encourage a baby to walk, and everything you should know.
Let’s dig in.
When Does a Baby Start Walking?
I know you are ready; you have waited so long to see your baby walk around. And you are wondering what this stage will bring about but remember, change is acceptable.
According to AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), babies’ development varies; some babies begin to walk before a year old, and others averagely after a year (around 14 months). So, nothing to worry about as long as your baby falls in that range.
Remember, a baby will start walking on his timeline. It takes a parent’s effort to groove and move their munchkin no matter his walking stage. After all, you cannot wake up on a certain morning to find your baby walking from the sitting stage, meaning the stage is a key factor for baby development.
Time matters, and every baby will have to undergo the walking stage no matter how long its timeline is. So, don’t rush your baby; it is a process that needs your help for a better and sweeter end. Most importantly, focus on your baby’s development and embrace every step that it makes.
Signs that Your Baby Wants to Walk
Later in this article, I will take you through the walking stages that will help you know when your baby is ready to walk. Apart from that, it is good to study your baby’s daily moves to see whether he has the ability and strength to balance and stand straight for a longer time.
For instance, if your munchkin can push a toy with wheels and handles, you are a happy mama since your baby will let go and start walking.
Most parents think that baby walkers are lifesavers for the baby walking process; unfortunately, it’s the opposite of their expectations. Baby walkers are discouraged by the AAP since they slow down the walking development and are dangerous.
It’s good to watch every step your baby takes as he develops. Your observation will help you respond to the baby’s stages at the right time without being worried about when he will achieve the next milestone.
First Stage: Sitting
Is your baby able to sit independently without leaning or boppy support? If yes, then the baby has gained mobility. The stage helps strengthen your munchkin muscles, and it usually happens between 4 to 7 months.
Second Stage: Crawling
At the age of 7 to 10 months, your baby will begin practicing how to move her legs and arms simultaneously. Although, other babies may rock their hands and knees when they begin crawling. So you must help the baby crawl easily from side to side.
Third Stage: Creeping
Your baby’s arms are stronger than its leg muscles at eight months. Your baby will begin pulling up with your support or furniture. During this process, you will need to work on your baby’s balance to be familiar with standing positions.
Fourth Stage: Cruising
At the age of 8 to 9 months, your baby begins to use furniture and walls to maneuver around. You will need to be careful at this wonderful stage since the baby will get in touch with things it comes across, so make sure that your house is baby-proof. Moreover, you will encourage the baby to stand without holding on to things to gain confidence.
Fifty Stage: Standing Without the Aid
Your baby is now between 9 to 12 months old, and he must have known how to balance and stand for some seconds. It’s a great show that you will soon begin making steps, so it’s time to make it a game by praising each move.
Before your little one starts to walk, he must pass through some stages, and you should not be worried if your baby skips some since it is completely normal. Importantly, don’t compare your baby with others since a baby develops at its own pace.
10 Quick Tips: How to Encourage a Baby to Walk
1. Go Barefoot
According to the pediatric therapist, it is good to leave your baby barefoot most of the time to learn to balance his body with his legs. Standing barefoot helps the feet’ muscles hold on to the ground easily.
If you encourage your baby to walk confidently without support, his muscles will strengthen. Remember, a baby relies on a feel guide, and by holding strong to the ground, he will learn to adjust the ground balance.
And did you know that different surfaces need specific use of muscles, posture, and joints? Leave a comment, and let’s learn together.
2. Baby Steps
It is always essential to start small once your baby takes some steps. Remember, good things take time, and you cannot just expect the baby to jet around the living area as soon as he begins making steps.
If your baby begins to take one to two steps, it’s high time you start encouraging him to take more steps ahead to gain more confidence. Don’t just sit three steps from the baby; instead, gradually raise the distance as you praise each move.
3. Strong Shoes
Now it’s time to let go of those shoes with soft insoles and get those with great ankle support and insoles. And don’t forget that your baby’s lower leg muscles and ankle are not yet strong, so external support will get him going.
Even if the AAP recommends barefoot as the best way of encouraging a baby to walk, that will not apply when out and about with your munchkin. And remember, every baby is different; barefoot may not work best for the other kid as shoes do.
4. Encourage Cruising
Your baby is familiar with holding and pulling on things, but he is unsure of what’s next. Now, it is the right time to encourage your baby to walk by lining strong furniture and placing attractive toys out of reach. Importantly, ensure that the furniture is baby-proof to prevent unnecessary accidents.
Encouraging a baby to cruise for a longer distance will improve the kid’s standing stamina and strengthen their thighs and hip muscles. As time goes by, he will be strong enough to hold on to his weight on a single side and best at maneuvering weight from one foot to the other.
5. Motivation and Encouragement
Who does not love being motivated and encouraged on the little victory! I guess nobody, motivation helps you work extra hard to achieve more.
Your little one can take one to two steps; praising each attempt will motivate and encourage him to make more and more steps. As a parent, the greatest motivation you can give your kid is smiling and clapping for each step made to strengthen his ability.
6. Gradually Lower the Support
When a baby begins to walk, he always needs your support by either holding him on the trunk, hands, or under the arms. As soon as the baby’s muscles become stronger, he will need little support than before. Now, it will be the right time to gradually lower the support and let him walk independently to gain stability.
7. Get the Baby a Push Toy
Getting your baby to a push toy will give him control as he holds and pushes the toy. Moreover, it will give the baby the support he requires in walking as well as refine his balance and boost his confidence
8. Offering Support
Do you love holding your baby’s hands as a sign of support? You aren’t alone. Many parents think that it’s the perfect way of offering support to the baby as he learns to stand.
Additionally, holding the baby’s hand makes him tilt his body forward, making him take quick steps when walking due to off-balance.
The right way to offer support is by holding his trunk to keep his feet firm to the ground hence building bones and muscle strength
9. Provide a Role Model
A baby is perfectly encouraged by another baby walking. Your baby will feel like he also needs to do it as the other kid does.
If you keep praising another kid falling as he rises and continues walking, your child will feel like missing out and will eventually begin walking.
10. Place the Baby on His Feet
Many parents love putting the baby in a sitting position. It’s high time you let that go and start placing your baby in the standing position.
To encourage a baby to walk, you will need to place him on his feet so that he can learn to bear his weight. Don’t worry about him; plopping down immediately, keep placing him in the same position so that he can know your standing expectation.
Did you know that standing is a way of teaching a baby a physical milestone? I guess you didn’t. Standing stimulates your baby’s brain to change in the environment and thus encourages him to learn.
What Not to Do When Encouraging a Baby to Walk
As I mentioned earlier, every baby has his timeline, so don’t push a baby to walk if he has not shown a sign to start walking.
Also, baby walkers may not sound as good as the theory since they are dangerous. Don’t confuse baby walkers with push-toys, as they are different.
It might sound entertaining to leave a baby in a baby walker, but do you ever think of the consequences it may bring about?
There is a big difference between pushing a toy with wheels and sitting on a walker with wheels at its base. The baby pushing a toy will be encouraged to walk more than in a baby walker. Furthermore, baby walkers result in an abnormal baby walking pattern.
When to See a Doctor
Is your baby 16 to 18 months, and he has not yet begun walking? If yes, it’s time to see a doctor. The CDC (Center for Diseases Control) recommends that you need to see a pediatrician if your baby is not walking at this age.
Although it’s not something big to worry about since some kids need more help to get on their feet, sometimes the kid’s doctor can send you to the early intervention state program for evaluation.
The walking services include physical walking therapy and gross motor skills, and the kid’s plans are catered to his specific needs.
Don’t ignore any concerns about your baby’s progress to reach the next milestone. Feel free to contact the pediatrician or plan for an evaluation with the early intervention.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Should Babies be Encouraged to Walk?
A baby starts to walk at 12 months or later, but a baby will begin walking on his timeline.
What is Considered Delayed Walking?
Many babies start walking at 11 to 15 months, but some may fall outside the range and still walk at the end. You can consider walking a delay if the baby is 18 months.
What’s the Youngest Baby to Walk?
On the walking records, Freya Minter is said to be the youngest baby to walk.
What are the 3 Main Symptoms of Autism?
Delayed milestones, socially awkward kids, and the baby with nonverbal and verbal communication troubles are the three major symptoms of autism.
It does not matter whether you are not ready or are ready; the baby will begin walking before you notice it. With a few quick tips mentioned above, there are more things and activities to do to encourage a baby to walk.
As long as your baby has shown signs of beginning to walk, keep encouraging him to strengthen his bones and muscles.