During the first two years of life, babies get to cross the exciting milestones towards successfully walking. Babies tend to develop at different rates. If a baby takes longer to start walking in the first year after birth, then parents often become worried. But, as a parent, you should know that expecting your baby to walk in the first year is still too soon.
A baby's different phases of physical activity may seem to pass by in the blink of an eye. These stages are essential in building confidence in a baby to take their first step. While the exciting time of early development is going by, parents can help their baby have the self-reliance to take the first step.
This blog post will discuss the stages and steps essential to help your baby learn to walk independently.
The first thing you need to do is have your baby go barefoot. Being barefoot is important for a baby to learn to stand up. Now that your baby is barefoot, you need to sit down, hold the baby, and have them bounce with their feet touching your legs. Doing so ensures the muscles in the baby’s legs get strong.
Another essential thing is to teach your baby how they can bend their knees. This way, the baby learns to develop motor skills. Such motor skills help the baby stand up and sit down in the coming months.
In the second step, you are supposed to encourage your baby to sit. For any baby, it is crucial to learn to sit, before they know to walk. To stand and walk, a baby needs to have a strong core. You can do this by having the baby sit on something like a small stool, or a baby support seat. Also, remember to ensure your baby’s feet are touching the floor.
As your baby is sitting, encourage them to stand or make specific twisting movements. You need to position yourself just a few feet away from your child. Hold their favorite toy in your hands and entice them to get it. The baby will try to pull up and reach towards you or the toy. This encourages the baby to want to walk.
Also, you can place the toy just above the baby or put it on the floor. The baby will make certain movements to get to the toy - which are beneficial in building a solid core and eventually learning to walk.
When your newborn is 4 to 5 months old, put them on a baby bouncer. With the bouncing motion, your baby will strengthen their leg muscles. Being on the bouncer helps your baby learn to stay in a sitting position. However, it is recommended that you put your baby in a bouncer for only 15-20 minutes at one time.
The bouncing movements will help develop your baby's muscles as they move their legs and jump. The goal is to develop muscles so your baby gains the confidence to take their first walking step.
Make sure you give your baby a safe and open space where they can roam about. You can do this by:
- Clearing the floor of everything that can cause the baby to trip.
- Move away any item that is delicate or fragile.
- Any furniture with pull-out drawers should be placed towards the wall so the baby stays safe.
By roaming freely on the floor, your baby will better develop motor skills needed to take their first step. No matter if your baby is not yet walking, by creating a safe space, you encourage them to be more mobile and explore things as they move about on their path.
Once your baby gets the confidence to sit and crawl, the next step is cruising. Your baby can learn to walk as they learn to cruise. You should line up the furniture so that the baby can use the furniture and other surfaces as a support to practice walking around while cruising. The furniture should be lined up so the baby can easily cruise around.
Once your baby learns to cruise, it is time to have them leave the furniture support and hold your finger. Do it in a way that the baby uses both of their hands to grip you. It won’t take long before they will hold on to you with just one hand. And they may also give up the support altogether to walk by themselves.
In this regard, you need to actively support your baby so they learn to walk. You can get your baby a push toy such as the Huanger walker or a mini shopping cart. Doing so gives your baby an opportunity to walk on the move with the support of a toy.
When you get a push toy, ensure it is well-built, durable, and has no edges that can potentially injure the baby. Also, to provide resistance, ensure the baby uses the push object on a carpeted floor. You should prefer a toy that moves slowly, or has a slower motion.
You need to help your baby maintain balance and turn the activity into a game - so they can ultimately walk on their feet. You will do this by standing behind your baby, moving your hands around her arms and pulling them up to put them in a standing position.
While you do so, encourage them with praise or sing a song. Pull your baby’s arm forward and then the other. When you do this, the baby’s two feet will naturally follow as their hip will rotate. All this will instil confidence in your baby to start walking independently.
You should continue to encourage your baby to walk rather than sit. You can also stand a few meters from your baby. And then you will encourage them to walk in your direction. And as they try to walk, make them seem as if it is a significant moment by encouraging them.
Whether you are ready for it or not, your baby will start to walk very soon. You can do a lot to encourage your baby to walk, apart from the steps mentioned in this blog post. However, the above five steps are fundamental in teaching babies to walk. You need patience and constant effort - and your baby will begin walking before you know it.