Ways to Help Baby Learn to Walk
From 4 -15 months your baby goes from learning how to sit up to walking around the house on his own. During this exciting time you can help Baby gain his confidence to take those first steps through simple games and words of praise.
Stage 1: Sitting
When Baby starts sitting on her own, without the help of a Boppy, she is at the first phase of gaining her mobility. Sitting will help will help your little one strengthen the muscles she will need when she eventually learns to stand.
Age: 4-7 months
What you can do: During play time, roll a ball back and forth or play stacking games to help her enhance her little muscles.
Stage 2: Crawling
The most important thing for Baby to do at the crawling stage is to practice moving his arm and legs at the same time (even if he does a belly crawl or a scoot). He will need these skills when it comes time to walk.
Age: 7-10 months
What you can do: Help him develop these areas by having him crawl from one side of the room to the other. Then praise him for his movement.
Stage 3: Pulling Up
As Baby becomes stronger and more curious, she will start pulling herself up with the support of furniture, or mom and dad. This is when you can start working on balance and getting her familiar with the standing position.
Age: 8 months
What you can do: Help Baby pull herself up then show her how to bend her knees to get back down to the floor. This will help ease her falls when she starts taking steps on her own.
Stage 4: Walking with Help
As he starts to pull himself up and gain balance holding your hands, help him take a few steps. This will help him with the next phase of walking and help him gain confidence to take those first steps.
Age: 8-9 months
What you can do: Practice, practice, practice -- this is key for Baby when he is at this stage. The more he is use to standing and being on his feet -- the more likely he will feel comfortable to take those first few steps.
Stage 5: Cruising
Baby will then start using walls and furniture to get around. This is referred to as cruising. As Baby becomes more mobile make sure your home is completely baby proof and all furniture is secured to the wall.
Age: 8-9 months
What you can do: Encourage Baby to became more confidant while cruising and try to let go of the wall or furniture. Just make sure she has a soft landing spot.
Stage 6: Standing Without Help
Balance is a key part of walking. If Baby can stand and balance for a few seconds she will soon feel like she can try to take a step.
Age: 9-12 months
What you can do: Turn balancing into a game. Sit with Baby on the floor and help her stand up. Then count how long she can stay up before she tumbles. Give her praise after each attempt.
Signs Your Baby is Learning to Walk
Stage 7: First Steps
The first steps are a monumental moment for your little one -- so make a big deal out of it. Walking is all about confidence so everything leading up to those first steps need plenty of praise and encouragement.
Age: 9-12 months
What you can do: Cheer Baby to her first steps by sitting on the floor and guiding her, slowly, as Baby gains her balance let her walk on her own.
Stage 8: Walking
It may take a few stumbles and series of steps before he is on the move. Continue to praise Baby as he starts to explore walking. Keep in mind that some babies are going to prefer to crawl, and may do a crawl/walk before he is on his feet regularly.
Age: 12-15 months
What you can do: Encourage walking as much as possible. For example, when you set baby down put him in a walking position instead of a sitting position.
The Truth About Walkers
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly discourages the use of walkers. They say that walkers not only slow down Baby's walking development but also are extremely dangerous; thousands of toddlers end up in the hospital every year due to the popular item. Canada already has a ban on walkers being sold in the country and the AAP is recommending the United States take the same measure.