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Toddler learning to walk: dos, don’ts and safety tips

Toddler learning to walk: dos, don’ts and safety tips
June 17
12:43 2013

Parents wait eagerly for the day, when their bundle of joy will start to walk. Parents are tempted to follow their one year old around the house with a camcorder. As you are sure that important occasion will happen any moment now that your bundle of joy has turned one, well may be you have to wait for some more time. The fact is, while some of the kids start walking when they are around 14 or 15 months, it is not strange for them to start as late as 18 months. What decides when your kid starts walking?

How early or late your little one starts walking also depends on you and your partner. Your bundle of joy may follow in your or his/her dad’s footsteps. Temperament and build also plays a very important role. A lean, energetic baby is more likely to start walking than a soft Buddha-boy. Confidence also plays a vital role.

Some kids are more careful and want to take a step only when they are confident and they won’t fall, while some are really daring and drive right in. One thing is certain eventually your toddler will learn to walk, but it completely depends on their timetable and not yours. Nevertheless, there are ways you can lend a helping hand and enjoy those little steps during the journey and watch him/her make the victory not gradually, if not immediately.

Learning to walk is a series of head-to-toe changes. The muscles your baby requires to take little steps develop from the top down. As an infant slowly gets control of her neck and head, he starts strengthening his back as well. Each time an infant reaches a milestone from rolling over to cruising- he conditions his arms and torso which lays the base for strong legs and good posture.

Here is how an infant gradually learns to walk and how you can assist him/her in boosting strength and coordination:

Rolling over:

An infant generally in four to six months time, start rolling; tummy to back generally happens first. Before a baby can stand or even sit, he or she will need the leg strength and the torso. You can encourage your baby along by giving him/her ample of tummy time. Tummy time will assist in strengthening neck and back muscles. You can also try simple activities like: place a favorite toy in her sight but slightly out of reach so that he/she has to lift his/her neck and head to see it.

When he/she tries to reach it by propping himself/herself up on arms raise it a little higher. Swing the toy in one direction; it will help your tot learn how to shift the weight. When your kid starts rolling make sure that you or any other responsible person always stays near, especially when he/she is on bed or sofa, where there is possibility of falling.

Sitting:

Your baby has enough muscular strength around the spine to sit up, by about six months. But kids also fall over very easily. To make her unstable sense of balance steady, you can try playing ball gently with him/her, when you both are sitting, roll a ball and play catch. You can also hold hands of your tot gently and sway in a rhythm softly.

Crawling:

between seven and ten months, your baby may also realize that he/she can throw that cuddly teddy bear across the room’s floor by leaping forward, getting on knees and hands. To make crawling more fun and safe for your kid you can put some cushions for your toddler to crawl over.

Standing:

Between 9 and 12 months, your baby will start pulling herself up on her crib rail, the desk, the couch or anything that he/she can get a good grip on. During this time, the main challenge is to shift all the weight on the legs and not collapse under that weight. You can put toys on the desk or crib rail, which will entice him/her more to pull up for improved grip.

Cruising:

Once you baby will be able to pull himself/herself upright it won’t take too long to reach this next stage of cruising. Your kid will take some careful side steps while holding the sides of furniture or your hands for assistance. You can try keeping his/her favorite toy at the other end to motivate him/her to take sideways step and reach closer. When he or she has been cruising for some time, you can persuade to take hand off the wall.

If by 15 months your baby is not trying to stand or is not interested in cruising then consulting your doctor is recommended. May be there is nothing to be worried about and your kid is just a late bloomer, but sometimes the delay is due to muscle weakness too, so taking expert will do no harm. In addition, falling, getting hurt or bruised is very common when a kid starts to walk, so there is nothing to be worried about.

Some parents get so disturbed when their kids fall that they don’t allow them to come out of the cradle, but by doing this you will only delay their developmental milestones. The only thing that you have to be careful about is that you keep a watch on your toddler when he/she is learning to walk.

If by 12 months, your baby’s not trying to stand, or still seems uninterested in cruising by 15 months, talk to your pediatrician for reassurance. She’s probably just a late bloomer, but in some cases, there may be muscle weakness that could benefit from physical therapy or do-at-home exercises.

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