Learning to walk is a huge step forward in every baby’s development, and each baby arrives in a different way—some start by rolling, others by crawling, some walk on their knees and some even jump. Generally, babies learn to walk at their own pace and should not be forced to start walking; however, you can give them support and aid the process. Here are a few ways you can help your baby to walk early:
Hold his/her Hands
One of the best supports you can give your baby in the walking process is to hold his/her hands. Holding the babies hands up while you walk behind is a great way to help your baby practice putting weight on her feet. Hold his/her hands level, and give enough support so that the baby doesn’t topple over, but not to the extent that you are straining the elbows or shoulders. Make sure the baby can make full contact with the soles of his/her feet while holding your hands.
Introduce a Push toy
You can provide your baby with toys or objects which can help her stand up on her own. The moment she starts standing without much assistance, her confidence in her walking ability will grow. Push or pull toys can be of great assistance at this stage; these types of toys help your baby learn to move and keep her balance. The toys normally maintain the attention of your baby by playing music or producing light while she is moving, which keeps your baby stimulated enough to continue to use it over a longer period. There are many push toys you can get to help your baby walk early: ride-on toys with a push handle, adjustable activity toys with a walker option, and harness jumpers with a rolling option can all make great walking aids.
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Use his/her Peers
Take your baby to places where other babies of the same age group of your baby are present— the playground or a local mall play area is usually good locations. Alternatively, you can take your baby to visit a friend who has a baby of close age with yours. The most important thing is to have space which allows for safe, free movement, and a soft surface for your baby to fall on. Friendly competition and an innate desire to do what everyone else is doing is an inherent need for children and can provide powerful motivation to having them make their first steps.
Play Baby Games
You can aid your baby walking process by engaging her in fun games and interesting activities. Your baby has a growing mind and is constantly enthralled with its environment and the activities happening daily. By playing active games with your child, you encourage her motor skills while building a deeper connection between the two of you. It might be a chasing game in which you crawl to chase your crawling baby; your baby will have a blast playing along and will simultaneously want to imitate you. In this way, she will learn to crawl faster and develop better control of her hands and legs.
Offer a Reward
Holding your child’s preferred toy or treat for her to come and get for is a great way to inspire her to get on her feet and start moving. At this stage, babies love their parents and close relations dearly, as you are your baby’s entire world. Offering something the child wants provides a clear motivation for her, and cheer and a hug once she’s received the item is a great way to validate her and show her your delight in accomplishing the task. Eventually, crawling and wobbling will turn into walking!
Every child grows at a different rate, and as long as they are within the rage of average development, you should not worry about how or when your baby learns to walk. If you feel your baby is behind in their development, consult your pediatrician but make sure not to force your child to try to walk, as this could cause damaging trauma to them. There will certainly be those around you whose children learn to walk before yours, as well as those who learn after; the important thing is to provide positive encouragement for your baby, and to focus on the marvelous strides they are making in their life as they continue to develop and grow!