Taking baby steps

Some babies take their first few steps as early as nine months, while others are still happily shuffling on their bottoms at 18 months. But on average, most babies start between 11 and 13 months old.

Rule No 1 – don’t panic! Most late walkers catch up quickly, and early walking is no indication of how intelligent your baby is.

Walking involves muscular development, not brainpower!

Walking happens in stages. Babies will start by trying to pull themselves up to standing while holding on to furniture. Once they’ve mastered that they’ll begin to “cruise” – move around upright, still holding on.

Your child may be able to let go and stand without any support at this stage. Finally they’ll let go and take their first unsupported steps.

Go barefoot because barefoot is best when your baby is learning to walk as it helps bones and muscles develop properly and provides a better grip. This might not be practical outdoors, or if it’s really cold, but you should let your child toddle around barefoot as much as possible.

There’s no harm in helping your baby to practise the necessary skills for walking. You can:

  • Hold their hands while pulling them up gently, encouraging them to “walk” holding on;
  • Place your child’s hands to grip the edge of a piece of low furniture, with the tot in an upright position;
  • Hold out a tempting toy: this encourages many babies to take their first few steps;
  • Choose push-along toys with sturdy handles, as these help many babies get on the move; and
  • Give your baby time out of the playpen so they have more chances to have a go at standing, and eventually walking!

That’s the what and why. For the how, contact lauren@earlyinspiration.co.za

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