When young children take their first steps it feels a bit like man taking the first steps on the moon! An epic moment and also a step into the unknown for the parents!
A lot of planning went into getting man to the moon, and parents can also plan to help their child walk. OK, the planning is not quite on the NASA level! But, it should be a high priority for parents.
Yes, walking is a natural process for a child. However, a parent can put things in place to make sure this happens at a timely rate.
Before we start, though, I want to state one thing very clearly. Young children are very sensitive to their parent’s feelings and emotions. If you are anxious about this process that will likely rub off to some extend on your child. So relax…grab a cup of tea…everything will be fine!
In addition, be careful not to make your child feel under pressure to walk. This extra stress for your baby won’t be good for them. Walking is not a competition, and you can’t compare your child with others. Walking is a natural process and will happen. These tips are more of a scaffold for your child.
What are the steps?
A baby doesn’t all of a sudden drop his or her teething ring and get up and walk! There are a series of steps that a young child will go through before they get to walking.
This starts with a baby being able to move themselves in pretty much any way without assistance. This could be manifest in something like the act of rolling over. This is the very start of a baby learning it can have an influence over it’s own movement.
Then, you will see a more controlled movement starting to happen. This will be the act of sitting up. Something we take for granted, but actually takes a fair amount of co-ordination for a baby.
Finally, the actual act of traveling will start. Albeit in a very basic form at the beginning. Your baby will likely start trying to push itself along in a sitting position at first. Then, will graduate to crawling….and finally the magic will happen. Those first few steps.
As you can see, there is a specific build up to your child walking. We want to make sure this build up can run it’s course smoothly. We may even be able to boost it slightly!
Tip 1 – Batten down the hatches!
When your child becomes mobile, they also become a danger to themselves. All that moving and sliding around will bring in contact with parts of your home that you didn’t think were possible. Therefore, you need to make sure your house is “baby proof.”
Inspect closely for any sharp edges in your home, at the level of your baby. Coffee tables are a prime example of an accident waiting to happen.
You also need to block off any stairs or areas that you don’t want your child to access. It is quite simple to buy baby gates and other such products to quickly make your home safe.
Tip 2 – Prepare your child with exercise.
An active child is a child that is going to be ready to walk. Walking takes muscle control, something that is only built up by being active. Actually, this combination of muscle control and balance is quite something to master for a young child.
Play games and give your child toys that encourage them to be active. To practise moving their bodies and building up motor skills. For example, the simple act of interacting and playing with a ball meets a lot of these requirements. Any toy or activity that promotes a pushing or pulling motion is also great.
These things might not seem important to you, but they will be critical factors in your baby learning to walk.
Tip 3 – What NOT to do!
Finally, there are things that may seem like a good idea at the time, but actually are not!
Don’t just rush out and buy one of those baby walkers. These will make your baby too mobile too quickly, something they will not be ready for. This artificially supported form of walking is providing an overly aggressive action way before your child’s body is ready. This could result in accidents and injuries. We recommend a much more natural and free form progression to walking.
Be aware of the shoes you dress your child in. Those designer Ralph Lauren boots may not be providing the comfort or freedom a baby needs when they first start walking.
In fact, no shoes might be the best way to go when your child is first trying to walk. They have more physical contact with the process when they have bare feet, something that has been proven to help with early walking skills.
I have a feeling you may be wondering whether to believe me right now! So, here’s some people from the Guardian newspaper that came to the same conclusion!
If you still insist on your child wearing shoes at this stage, make sure they are the least resistance possible. Look for soft soled and supple shoes. These should prove to be the most flexible and least likely to be a hindrance to your child’s first steps. Also, make sure that your child’s ankle has a lot of freedom to move when wearing the shoes.
Finally, on the subject on shoes, check your child’s shoe size on a regular basis. This will ensure that their shoes are a perfect fit, allowing for the required comfort and movement when walking.
Well, there you have it!
That is our simple set of tips to support your child with their walking. If you follow these simple rules, you shouldn’t have any more worries when it comes to helping your child walk. Relax and enjoy the process! That’s all there is left to do!
If you have any tips or experience with this matter, we would love to hear all about it in the comment section below!