Fun Ways to Help Your Baby Learn to Walk
Learning to walk is a series of head-to-toe makeover – the muscles your baby needs for those first steps develop from the top down.
As your infant gradually gains control of the neck and head, he/she will also start strengthening the back. Read on to discover the milestones to walking and how you can boost your baby’s coordination and strength in a fun way!
Step 1: Rolling over
Before your future walker can stand or even sit, he/she will need torso and leg strength, which typically develops between four and six months.
You can spur your baby along by giving plenty of ‘tummy time’ to strengthen the neck and back muscles. Place a favourite toy in his/her line of vision but just slightly out of reach so that he/she has to lift the head and neck to see it. Raise it a bit more and your little one will start propping himself/herself up on the arms.
Dangle the diversion off to one side and your baby will start shifting his/her weight, a key step in rolling. Once your darling is starting to roll, give him/her a hand by moving the arm over the head, and down to the side.
Step 2: Sitting
By about six months, your baby would have enough muscular sturdiness around the spine to sit up. However, he/she still topples over easily.
To steady your child’s wobbly sense of balance, roll a ball and play catch while you are both seated. Alternatively, hold your young one’s hands and sing a song, gently swaying to the rhythm.
Step 3: Crawling
Between seven and ten months, your baby may start to realise that he/she can snag a teddy bear across the living room floor by lunging forward and getting on the hands and knees.
To add a little fun to your baby’s practice, bring out some big boxes and cushions for him/her to crawl through and under.
Step 4: Standing
Between nine and 12 months, your baby will start pulling himself/herself up the crib rail, the couch, the back of your jeans, or simply anything that gives a good grip.
Being able to shift all his/her weight to the legs and not buckle under that weight is going to be a challenge now. To help your darling overcome the challenge, place toys on the crib rail or in the centre of your coffee table to tempt him/her. In this way, your baby will pull up for a better grab.
Step 5: Cruising
After your little precious has pulled himself/herself upright, he/she will take a few cautious side steps while holding the sides of furniture or your helping hands.
If your baby needs a bit of incentive, place his/her favourite snack at one end of the table to take side steps and get closer. Once the cruising is comfortable, create an upholstered obstacle course by moving some stable pieces of furniture closer together so he/she can walk from one to another.
Once your little one has been cruising for a while, you can coax him/her into taking the hand off the wall. Stand a few paces away and welcome your baby with a big hug.
When to consult a paediatrician
If your baby hasn’t been trying to stand by 12 months, or still seems uninterested in cruising by 15 months, talk to your paediatrician. He/she may be a late bloomer, or in more serious cases, he/she may be suffering from muscle weakness, which could benefit from physical therapy or do-at-home exercises.