We’re so used to walking, but learning to walk is certainly not an easy task for babies. This has to do with their lack of leg muscles and developing sense of balance, said Natasha Burgert, an private-practice pediatrician in America.
Babies learn how to walk eventually, but some need more time. Most babies start to walk when they’re 9 to 18 months old, but don’t panic if your baby is taking a long time. Let them learn at their own pace.
That being said, there are ways to aid your child in learning how to walk.
1. Spend less time carrying your baby.
We know you love your baby and want to cuddle and hug them as much as possible. That’s all good, but know that it might help slow down your baby’s walking progress. They’ll never be motivated enough to move by themselves if they never get the chance. Always try to give your baby time to explore and develop by themselves – with you watching close by, of course.
2. Introduce push toys.
We’ve mentioned this in our previous guide, but we’re going to emphasize this again because it is one of the most important ways. Push toys can help them learn how to walk forward with support. If you don’t have the money to buy one, a diaper box can be used as a push toy.
3. Let your baby go barefoot.
Also previously mentioned in our guide, walking without shoes and socks can help your baby improve their balance and coordination. They use their toes to help with balance and rely on feedback they feel from the ground to adjust their standing balance as needed. Even when you start shopping for baby shoes, opt for ones that are flexible and have light soles.
4. Skip the baby walker.
We hate to break it to you, but baby walkers actually slow down your child’s progress. This is because they keep your child in an unnatural walking position – with their hips flex and lower legs forward. Walkers can also be dangerous if they collapse of fall down stairs.
5. Encourage squatting
This will help them develop their muscles and help your baby stand on their own. One way to encourage this is to place toys at their feet when supported by a sofa, and encourage them to squat and pick up them.
6. Cheer them on
Babies love compliments as much as adults. And they do understand positive feedback. Claps and applauds are highly encouraged, and be as over-the-top as possible to get your message across. This will help them understand that they’ve done something right and it will encourage them.