Having a new bundle of joy is exciting and heart-warming. There are plenty of memorable moments that you will cherish forever, and one of those moments is your baby’s first steps. Your baby’s first steps are a crucial part of your child’s development and growth.
If your baby is not quite there yet, there are a number of things you can do to prepare your child for their first steps. You can make them more active, cut back on holding them as much, and even strengthen their legs. Your baby will get the hang of walking on their own time, but here are some tips that could get your baby walking faster.
Get an Early Start
The earlier your baby starts practicing the motion of walking, the faster they will pick up on the act, and the faster they will start walking. Try some standing activities with your child around four to five months as this is when babies start to try to support themselves on their legs. Encourage them to bounce their knees up and down. Doing so can get them used to be able to stand on their own two feet. The muscle memory will start to build up and they will have a head start.
Keep Your Child Barefoot
Your baby uses their senses to go through their early life. That is why doctors advise parents to let their babies walk around barefoot as much as possible. When your baby is able to feel the ground under them, they will have a better grasp of what is going on. They can adjust their balance easier. The reasoning behind this is because your child cannot feel different surfaces by wearing shoes. Your baby being able to identify between different surfaces is important. Different surfaces call for different uses of joints, muscles and posture. Wearing shoes all the time can stunt this area of development.
Use a Walker
There are quite a few toys out there that encourage your child to stand on their own two feet. Consider getting a sit-to-stand walker toy to help prepare your child for walking. The colors, flashing lights, and buttons will make it easy for your child to learn the process of standing up and sitting down.
Incentivize Your Baby
Motivate your child to get up and start walking by enticing them with their favorite toy or snack. Place it across the room and encourage them to walk over and pick it up. Whatever you do, make sure that you are placing the toy or snack just out of reach that way your baby has to get up and reach for the item. This is a great tactic if you want your baby to get more comfortable with the sensation of walking.
Make Your Home New Walker Friendly
Keep in mind that once your baby learns how to walk, there is no unlearning it. You have to make sure that your house is safe for a curious kid. Start on this step of first. It could be the thing that gives you peace of mind, making teaching your baby how to walk easier. Make your home baby-friendly. Lock up the cabinets, add padding to sharp corners of tables and chairs. All these things help make your home safe for your baby to walk in.
Playing their favorite jams can encourage them to get up and move. If you want your baby to pick up on walking faster, consider playing music instead of using just your voice to coach them through it. Babies love to dance and they will figure out how to move, which could lead them to stand up and walking around.
Teach Them To Squat
There are steps to walking. Before your baby can walk, they have to know how to sit up, crawl, and squat. After researching tips to help your baby learn to crawl and teaching your child how to do that, he or she is ready for the next step. The moment your child is able to sit up on their own without the help of anyone or anything, it is a good time to teach them to squat. You can do this by having your infant sit on a stool with no back support and his or her feet touching the floor. It should be easy for him or her to push against the floor when they squat. Doing this will help your baby get used to balancing himself or herself.
Always Give Out Positive Words Of Affirmation
Whenever your baby completes an accomplishment, no matter how small or big, congratulate them. Celebrate their wins! Believe it or not, your baby can pick up on unspoken social cues. Do not assume that they are oblivious to the world around them because they cannot talk. They will feel the positive reinforcement and will keep trying to walk.
Develop Their Core
Being able to stand and walk takes a level of core strength that your baby may not have yet. Luckily there are a few exercises you can do with your child to help develop their core. Get an exercise ball and plop your child on top, making sure to hold them from behind, allowing them to bounce up and down without their feet on the ground. This helps train their muscles for walking.
Move With Them
Hold your baby’s arms and hands up while they try to walk. This is similar to riding a bike with the training wheels on. You are there to support them so they do not fall while they get used to the experience of standing up. While you are holding their arms and hands, move with them if they take a step. This gives them the confidence to take another, and another and another until they finally get the hang of it. Keep in mind that it does not happen overnight and it takes practice.
Place Your Baby By Another That Is Walking
Peer pressure can work to your advantage if you use it to get your baby to start walking faster. Placing your baby around another baby that is already walking may be the motivation your baby needs to get moving. You never know. Your baby will enjoy having someone their own age to play with and they will do whatever it takes to keep up with their friends, including learning how to walk.
Resist The Urge To Hold Your Baby All The Time
Holding your baby all the time will stunt your baby’s development in this area. Let your baby walk over to you. This may seem counterintuitive and mean, but the more you pick up your baby the less likely it will pick up on walking quickly. If you are always holding them, there is no motivation from them to learn the skill. They will likely not have a desire to walk because they know you will be there to pick them up and carry them wherever they want to go. This can be hard it may seem really tough, but if you want your child to learn how to walk faster this is a step that must be done.
You do not want to push your child too far. Go easy on them and remember that they are learning a brand new thing. It is ok if they do not pick it up in a day. Remember to take it easy. Take breaks every now and then.
Photo by Filipe Leme