Your Child to Walk
Learning to walk is one of the major milestones in your child's life,
and a time you probably eagerly await.
Children learn to walk
when they are developmentally ready, but there are lots of things you
can do to support the development of this skill. Your child may learn to
walk as early as 8 months old or as late as 18 months of age. Most
babies start walking between 9 and 12 months, and are walking with some
confidence by the age of 15 months. Bear in mind that all children learn
to walk in their own time so do not be overly concerned if your child
seems to be taking longer than others. Some children miss out the
crawling stage, so do not be surprised if your child has not learnt to
crawl and then suddenly starts showing signs of learning to walk!
There are lots of ways
you as a parent and carer can encourage your baby to walk.
Firstly, ensure your
child leads a
healthy lifestyle and is active, this will help them
develop their muscle strength and coordination, essential for
Be conscious of
safety when your child is learning to walk and adapt the environment
accordingly. Make sure the furniture in your home is safe for your
child (without any
sharp corners, edges or glass). They will then start to use this to
hold on to as it offers them support as they try to move themselves forward. Corner Guards are ideal
and help prevent any bruises and knocks. Ensure your
home doesn't have any objects lying around which your child could
fall on when developing their balance. Clear away toys on the floor storing in toy boxes which are accessible but do not pose a trip hazard.
Once your child is
confidently crawling, support them to learn to walk, by
encouraging them to pull themselves up into a standing position,
perhaps by holding their hands. Once your child is in a standing
position, teach them to bend their knees so they can sit
back down. They may get upset at first if they are unsure how to do
this, so preserve and teach them this necessary skill. Do not rush or over pressurise your child and accept that they will develop skills at their own pace and when they are developmentally ready.
Spend time holding
your child's hands and encouraging them to take steps toward you.
The more practice your child has the more likely he or she is to
grow in confidence and be ready to try walking independently.
Provide support to your child and always be around them when they
are trying to take their first steps. Standing or kneeling in front
of them and encouraging them to walk towards you is an ideal way to
challenge your child to take their first steps independently.
Offer praise, positive comments and encouragement for all signs of progress,
even if small.
Let your child
practise walking barefoot indoors and avoid shoes which will only
make it harder for them to balance. When they are ready to walk
outdoors or on a rough surface, ensure they have lightweight and
comfortable footwear. By walking barefoot indoors this will improve
their balance and coordination.
Try passing a Soft Ball
back and forth to your baby and encourage them to lightly kick and
throw the ball, this will help to develop their hand-eye
coordination and balance. When your child becomes more confident
with walking they will benefit from and enjoy other toys such as a
Baby Walker with Blocks
Remember never leave your
baby alone as they may need support when they are trying to walk and
could easily injure themselves.
Once your child
shows interest and is beginning to learn to walk, start exploring
the outdoors and going for walks in your locality. Try and match
you pace to the walking pace of your child, so they do not get upset
at not being able to keep up with you. Also make sure there are not too many distractions and the area you choose is safe for your
Never force or
pressurise your child into walking if they don't seem ready. It is
important that the muscles in their legs are properly developed, so
they can support their own weight. Patience is crucial as learning
to walk requires time, praise and support.