Is your baby ready to make the transition from baby to toddler, are you ready? If so carry on reading to find out more ideas for practising walking.
Your baby may be ready to start practising walking if they are doing the following; pulling to stand, cruising furniture, playing in standing, attempting to stand independently and bridging gaps. If they aren’t yet able to do these skills then practise these first before moving onto walking, you can check out our previous blog posts for more tips and tricks.
Independent walking generally develops between 12 to 18 months of age and they need lots of time to practise. Often babies will start to show signs of being ready to step with support and stay on this stage for a few months, this is absolutely fine. Walking is a tricky skill to master and once they are up and walking they’ll be doing so for a very long time, so they need time to fine tune their walking skills.
Our top tips for practising walking are:
- Don’t stop practising all the other skills that led them here. Continue to practise bridging gaps and cruising but make it harder for them e.g. holding onto unstable surfaces.
- Use push toys to help them build their confidence with standing, push toys that are sturdy and do not tip easily are best. You could even try and toy shopping trolley and weigh it down with other toys.
- Hold their hands and encourage them to walk instead of being carried or crawling to different places.
- Hold a dressing gown belt or tea towel or a hoop and encourage your baby to hold the other end. This is more unstable and harder than holding your hand so helps them to develop their strength and stability
- Make sure they are practising in baby proof areas as they will fall, soft land surfaces are nicer to fall onto and make trying again a little easier.
- Practice in bare feet, this allows the small muscles of the foot and toes to develop their balance reactions.
Be patient, praise often and remember practise makes perfect!
If your baby is still struggling with standing and stepping after 16 months old it may be worthwhile seeking advice from your GP or asking for a referral to a paediatric physiotherapist.