One of the most exciting milestones of any parents’ life is when their babies take the first steps. Most infants start walking by the time they turn 14 months old (1). However, there is no need to get concerned unless they don’t walk until 18 months of age (2). But, they start preparing themselves from long before this particular event actually occurs. For the infants to start walking, they not only need to develop their muscle strength but they also need to master many other skills. These skills include balance, coordination, standing up, and the ability to support themselves on one leg.
All infants are naturally motivated to try and walk as they grow up. So, they first start crawling and then put in efforts to get themselves to stand up. While you should not try and rush your little one through any of these steps of development, you can always give a helping hand from the sidelines. Here, we bring you how:
As They Begin Crawling, Try And Become Creative
The moment your little ones learn how to sit, they will also realize with time that they can push themselves toward any direction by digging in with the help of their knees. Suddenly, it opens up new doors for them and they start exploring their own capabilities. While the baby’s first few attempts may be slightly clumsy and they might also wobble as they support themselves on their arms, all of this will help them strengthen their muscles and prepare them for the future steps (3).
So, you can encourage your baby to crawl by making everything a little bit creative. You can try playing ‘hide and seek’ or ‘peekaboo!’ with them. But, don’t leave your little one alone while you are playing this game as they might fall in between the pillows and feel all scared.
Give A Helping Hand When They Try To Stand
Although you may be elated as you see your little one crawling, don’t be content with that as there is more to come! Realizing that everyone around is doing this incredible thing – walking – is going to make them all excited. So, as they prepare for it, they will try and pull themselves up so that they can stand up at every opportunity they get (4). You can always help when your munchkin is trying to stand up by holding them in that position for some time.
When The Little One Gets Cruising, Motivate Them
As your little ones become a bit confident when they begin to stand up, they will also start exploring how to take their first steps. Usually, this will begin with a process that is called ‘cruising’, which is basically when they shuffle along the furniture. By holding onto a piece of furniture while they are walking will give them the necessary support. As your munchkin tries to do this, you can place a toy that is a little out of reach so that they feel motivated to walk towards that (5).
Step Up The Game As They Become More Confident
As the little ones gain confidence, they will start letting go of the furniture and try walking on their own. They will be a little shaky in the beginning so you may want to offer them a hand to support if they start tottering on the floor. But, with time, they will get a hang of it. Be safe but also be brave. Keep in mind that some falls may happen as your infant starts walking. So, if there is some unsafe object coming in the way, just remove it. But, if they do fall, just give them a quick hug and soothe them immediately.
Most importantly, remember that you need to give continual appreciation to your little one as it will keep them motivated. And, it will also encourage them to try harder to walk. Since your munchkin will now know how to walk, you may also want to start babyproofing your home. Happy walking, mommies!