Most parents would love to be able to boast about their children reaching their milestones on time but the reality is, milestone charts are just indicators of what you can expect from your child. A little variation either way does not mean your child isn’t healthy. Some babies skip the crawling stage altogether and practically run before they can walk! Others seem like they’ll never be able to sit up unattended, usually if they’re a bit more ‘roly poly’ than their siblings or other children.
As for the walking milestone, well, it’s entirely variable but usually you can expect to hear the pitter patter of little feet by about your child’s first birthday. Some kids, however, reach eighteen months and they’re still trying to remain upright on their feet, but as long as they are developing normal in other areas, there will not be cause for concern. Obviously, if you are worried, you can take him to your doctor for an examination.
Walking is about balance, motor development and not being in too much of a rush! For some littlies, to be up on their feet is achievement enough; for others, putting one foot in front of the other is a goal that they won’t rest without reaching.
There are ways you can assist your child in learning to walk. Encourage him to stand and hold on to furniture to increase the sensation of stability, and to help him to learn to balance properly. Once his confidence grows, he will rather like the idea of moving around the furniture to reach certain goals, like moving towards a brightly colored ball on the sofa, or his favorite toy on the coffee table. Have Grandma crouch, arms outstretched, calling your child and he’s likely to set off on a path to reach her. Falling down is par for the course so don’t worry.
Contraptions made of seats with wheels and a frame are not the best tools to help your child to walk earlier. Sure, they’re fun and it’s very cute to see your baby zooming around the floor on wheels, but walkers can actually hinder a child’s natural progression towards walking. Babies who use walkers tend to rely on them for balance and movement, and the results is that the muscles they need for walking are not as well developed. Walkers are also responsible for thousands of child injuries across the United States each year, so use with extreme caution.
Nature provided us with padded soles on our feet, and toes to help keep our balance. Putting shoes on a child learning to walk is anything but natural, so avoid if possible. Also let your child get used to different surfaces such as grass, carpet, wood and sand. It keeps things fun and interesting.
It might seem like the best way to help your child, but holding his hand actually offsets his balance. Try holding him around the torso to keep him upright.
Learning to walk is thrilling for a little child. A whole new world opens up when he can be upright and he will see his environment from a brand new perspective. Delight in his excitement. Spend lots of time giving him the confidence to pull himself up and make his foot movements and when he falls over, laugh playfully and encourage him to try again.
Your one year old will be into everything once he’s up on his feet. As exciting as his milestone will be, you may just find yourself longing for the time when he stayed put for a bit longer!