Walking is an important physical milestone for babies. Over the course of your baby’s first year, he or she will gradually gain coordination and learn to sit, stand, and walk. While most babies start walking between the ages of 12 to 15 months, some babies start to walk as early as 9 months. As New Kids-Center explains, parents play an important role in making their little ones start to walk at an earlier age.
Here are some tips to help you encourage your baby to walk:
Introduce tummy time
Placing your baby on his or her stomach can help him or her develop strong neck and shoulder muscles, promote motor skills, and build strength needed for sitting up, rolling over, crawling and walking. This activity can also prevent the back of your baby’s head from developing flat spots.
Coordination is key
According to Essential Parent, let your baby practice walking while you hold his or her hands as this develops the part of its brain which controls balance and symmetrical coordination. Also, lots of crawling also helps her to coordinate the left and right side of her body
Games, games, games!
Games and activities such as baby yoga, water play, and pass the ball can improve your baby’s balance, coordination, strength, as well as confidence. Physical therapist Robin Bump, a co-founder of Making Milestones, suggests these 5 games to help build the muscles and skills your baby needs for walking. Click here to read more.
Let your baby cruise
Cruising is when your baby starts pulling up to a standing position and side-stepping while holding onto furniture. It is also one of the last steps on the journey toward walking independently. However, be sure to cover any sharp corners on tables and secure wobbly furnishings.
Try push or pull toys
Push or pull toys can play a big part in helping your baby walk. Push and pull toys make your baby learn to move and keep balance.
New Kids-Center says 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).
Don’t ever force your baby to walk
No matter what you do, don’t try to force your baby to walk if he or she doesn’t want to – even though they are slower than other babies (it’s normal for some toddlers start to walk after the age of 1 and a half years). Not only does this instill fear, but also delay them from walking (or even standing).