Learning to walk is an exciting milestone for your baby. Babies develop at different paces and will start walking when they are ready. You can expect your baby to start showing signs of standing and walking from about the age of eight months, although this can vary. To walk, babies need to develop their balance, coordination, muscle control and body strength. You can help them, one step at a time.
Here are some ways to encourage your budding perambulator to take their first steps
The precursor to walking is cruising – when your baby holds onto furniture to get around. Help them by making sure all the edges of sharp furniture are protected. Encourage standing, walking and reaching as much as possible.
Letting your child hold you hand while she stands or cruises around is a great confidence booster that will encourage her to try walking.
Follow the toys
Leave a trail of interesting toys and objects for your baby to follow. But place them just out of reach so that she has to find new ways of reaching them.
Ditch the shoes
Let your baby move around barefoot indoors and on safe surfaces. This encourages the muscle tone and foot arch that your baby needs for walking.
For more about shoes and walking, read here
Let your baby stand and cruise while holding onto a standing walker or a push toy like Fisher-Price’s Learn with Me Zebra Walker. It will give her the confidence she needs to find her feet. She can use it while sitting, or to move around. The easy-to-grasp handle and sturdy four-wheel base gives you peace of mind as she takes her first tentative steps. Just make sure this play is supervised as she could find herself moving rather quickly.
Keep it safe
Avoid seated baby walkers that do little to encourage your child’s muscle development and that can in fact be dangerous to use. Babies can move very quickly in these walkers and there is a risk of falling down stairs.