How to teach a child to walk on their own
The first steps of a baby are a memorable event and an important milestone in the life of the whole family. Even years later, parents proudly talk about how their daughter or son managed to take these steps. And the point here is not only the touchingness of the moment but also the significance of the experience of independent movement for a person. These are not just the first steps of a baby – this is a step towards growing up. How can you help your baby to start walking and at what age should he go?
When the child is ten months old, parents always ask the question: how to teach a child to walk on their own. All babies develop according to an individual scenario. Someone begins to walk as early as 7-8 months, and someone continues to only sit and crawl after a year and a half. Understandably, moms and dads are worried that their child is all right in everything. But all couples want to help their little angle in mastering such as independent walking.
How to teach your child to walk by developing a skill
Want to teach your child to walk? Well, you have to guarantee that the baby is ready for this important process: he gets up off his knees without any problems, can stand at the support for a long time, and tries to walk along with the furniture. Your task: to support the development of such an important skill:
1. Encourage his movements
The more a child has been allowed to drag himself on the ground, crawl, and climb, the more easily he will walk. What does it mean? That he should not be left too long in his Cocoon baby, his recliner or his car seat – and later in his high chair. Not only can this lead to plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) in the long run, but the little one gets stuck, arms at their sides, without being able to do much – except look at the ceiling – or move arms and legs.
From the age of 3 months, get into the habit of laying your baby down on his play mat or in a baby playpen (pack n play)- and why not on the larger living room rug – on your back then on your stomach (under your supervision). Remember to dress him in soft clothes (be careful with jeans, sometimes very stiff) that will not hinder his movements.
He will thus have complete latitude to turn around, crawl, push on his elbows to stand up. And later to do four-legged, unfortunately little valued by parents: they consider it as a “step”. The four-legged is perfect for back balance, arm-leg coordination, lower and upper limb symmetry, understanding distances, and learning to avoid obstacles. It’s a good exercise! To encourage him, also get on all fours, so at his height, he will be delighted.
2. Make it easier for him to explore his surroundings
If your living room is full of precious objects, this will not help a baby towalk, because you will be constantly on the alert for the safety of your child and the objects themselves. Remove anything that breaks or sucks and put corners at the coffee table. Your little one should be able to stand up easily using a chair or a stable piece of furniture (watch out for the TV which could tip over), hold onto, and stand up without banging his head. He must feel free, it is up to you to define a safe space. Sow toys here and there, it will make him grab some. Provide a (stable) push or pull cart or carrier. Do not abuse the park from 6 months, when it begins to move. Reserve it for times when you can’t watch it closely, or you can put him in a good quality pack’n play that is a safe place.
3. Forget the baby walker
This wheeled machine is not recommended by early childhood professionals. Certainly, it brings peace to parents who are delighted with their tranquility (which they believe). But it also provides completely wrong sensory information to the child. Since when does a baby learn to walk suspended in cloth panties by bending the legs and doing carp jumps? In doing so, he does not have the correct support on the ground, does not build up muscles, does not exercise his arms. He often stands there on tiptoes and is not autonomous, contrary to what is commonly experienced. Also, the baby walker allows him to advance at full speed without realizing the distances, obstacles, and danger. Some children end their race on the stairs, resulting in a head injury. In Canada, baby walkers are prohibited because they are considered dangerous. Your baby is programmed to walk. Let him do it “on his own”.
4. Go for bare feet or soft shoes
Inside the house, he doesn’t need shoes until he can walk well. It is the muscles of the foot that come into action when walking and not the shoes! Experiment: get on all fours with good mountain boots and you will see how easily and comfortably you move forward. By locking the foot too early in shoes, you deprive your child of sensory information: he will not be able to appreciate the quality of the ground – hard, soft, flexible, slippery, sloping – will not feel its support and will have difficulty adjusting its balance. Put on non-slip socks and, when he stands up, switch to premature shoes, at the right size, with a buttress at the heel and ankle. They are more flexible than walking shoes.
5. Refrain from intervening
Holding it one way or another won’t make it easier for him. Do we take him by both hands and hold his arms in the air? Oops, his shoulders don’t say thank you. In addition, we increase his “line of verticality” and to keep his balance, he should spread his legs further apart, which he does not do. As a result, we are the ones who work for him. Support it under the armpits, even if it means breaking your back? Similarly, it is we who react to its imbalances. Do we extend our arms to him from a distance to encourage him to walk and take refuge in our arms? To please his parents, the child goes forward, running after his center of gravity so as not to fall. Better get closer – arms behind your back! – and encourage him by talking to him, he will come to you just as well.
What factors can help a child start walking:
- Preparation. If the child is already actively crawling, getting up, walking along the walls, and furniture, then he is ready for the first steps. You just need to encourage him to do this and praise him for the slightest successful attempt to take a small step. Make sure that there are no sharp or heavy items in the activity ground. It makes sense to put protection on the corners of the furniture, on the sockets – plugs. Don’t forget about the hot items. It is important to remove medicines and household chemicals from the area. Prepare anything that will protect the explorer safely. May your baby always be healthy!
- Pre-walking barefoot, if possible, when the child is being guided by the arms or supported under the armpits. Yes, there are now special shoes for children, but even the softest shoe does not replace the preparation of the foot. Children who can walk barefoot start walking earlier. Therefore, there is even evidence that in summer and the south, babies take their first steps earlier. The point is not that southern children supposedly develop faster than northern ones, but in preparing the foot for walking. In the warm season, you should go without shoes and walk barefoot together. Go out into nature more often and encourage him to walk on grass and sand. It strengthens muscles, joints, ligaments. Find the right footwear when he is ready. It should be natural with a good instep support. This will help support the foot. Do not let the baby’s leg loose.
- Walking requires space and equipment. Kids are natural cunning, if they can move from support to support, then they will not need to let go of it, and a bad experience of falling can stop even timid attempts to move independently on their legs, so make sure that the child has room to walk and that failures do not cause unnecessary injury and pain. It is necessary to prepare an area and remove unnecessary equipment in advance – everything that can interrupt. For the floor, do not let your baby run on parquet, tiles, linoleum. On such a surface, children are unstable and often fall. Alternatively, you can purchase non-slip socks.