Your baby’s first independent movements are probably the most exciting thing for parents. Especially when it comes to sitting, standing up, and eventually walking. In this case, you can easily help your baby walk by supporting them and giving them modified tasks and exercises.
Walking and standing up alone is a major milestone for babies. This requires babies to coordinate almost all their muscle groups at once, from arms to backs to legs and feet. To take those vital first steps, standing is a terrific muscle-strengthening exercise.
Now, let’s check how can you help your baby walk with these 10 easy exercises.
- 1 When Can You Expect Baby Standing?
- 2 When Do Babies Start Walking?
- 3 Things to Avoid When Helping Your Baby to Walk
- 4 Adjust Environment to Baby’s Needs
- 5 In Conclusion About Helping Your Baby Walk
- 6 Author
When Can You Expect Baby Standing?
At around 9 to 12 months, babies begin to stand on their own. But before you make any judgment, bare in mind that each baby has its own pace of development. At this age babies will grasp just about anything that is firmly gripped to help them with standing. This includes the couch, a chair to even your pant or skirts. All milestones are subject to change, so this one is no different.
As we mentioned all babies are different so standing can come much later in their life. And in these situations, it would be a good idea to give your baby encouragement and proper support. Instead of feeling worried about delayed standing, encourage kids to practice in a fun, safe, and supportive environment. Always remember that each baby is developing at its own pace and eventually they will be running around like little rabbits.
Encouraging standing and taking first steps
Baby needs to have enough strength in their legs, hips, and core for them to stand and eventually walk alone. To strengthen their legs and core, encourage your baby to roll, sit, and crawl as much as it can. Give them some fun exercises to make their legs stronger, for instance, place a stuffed animal on one side of the room and encourage your baby to come and get it, either rolling or crawling on the floor. There are many activities you can come up with that can make your baby physically stronger as long as they are safe for them.
When Do Babies Start Walking?
As a lot of standing, walking can occur anytime between 8 to 12 months or even later according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Walking will happen on your baby’s timeline, just like everything else in development.
It doesn’t matter at what stage of walking your baby is, you can help him or her move and groove. However, the stage is the important part here, because babies don’t suddenly become walkers. Along the way, you’ll likely hit many milestones – standing with support, standing independently, cruising, taking wobbly steps, and at the end walking independently.
Meet your baby’s needs, capitalize on their strengths, and work to overcome their weaknesses playfully. This means that standing and walking take time, adjust the environment and exercises to your baby’s requirements, don’t rush it, and trust the process.
Now that we established when do babies start standing and walking, let’s see 10 easy exercises to help your baby walk.
Things to Avoid When Helping Your Baby to Walk
Avoid forcing and pushing your newborn to walk at all costs. Although your baby may give some indications that they are prepared to walk, it can take some time for the brain and body to work together seamlessly. When trying to help your kid reach the next important milestone, acknowledge the minor victories and meet them where they are cognitive.
Avoid baby walkers and push toys. These so-called things to help your baby to walk are not safe, since they can cause a tripping hazard, falling over, hitting, and much more things we do not want to imagine. They also have wheels so they push themselves with their toes instead of standing on their full feet which can later cause a habit of walking on tiptoes.
In addition, a baby without mobility can move around with its walker pretty quickly. This means that babies can hit things easily, roll down the stairs, fall into the pools in your backyard, and even reach some unsafe things like hot and heavy items or electrical outlets.
At the end of the day, these things are available almost everywhere and it is up to a parent to decide whether the baby will use the walker or not. However, we do not recommend it and we advise you to ask for a professional opinion before purchasing one.
Adjust Environment to Baby’s Needs
Before you even begin with exercises make sure that the place your baby is living and learning to walk is adjusted to its needs. For instance:
- Make sure your floors are free of the clutter that could cause tripping
- Place fragile items in different locations like lamps, glasses, laptops, etc.
- Cover outlets and gather excess cords.
And if babyproofing your entire home becomes challenging, consider blocking off rooms that are especially dangerous or think about establishing a safe zone by gating off a portion of your home that is risk-free.
How is this helpful? Encourage your kids’ mobility even if they aren’t yet walking. This means that they will probably explore everything on their path. Babyproofing and adjusting the environment to their need will keep them safe from harm and perhaps boost their confidence as well.
1. Sitting practice
To stand and walk on their own, your infant needs to have strong core muscles. Try to strengthen that part of the muscles by placing your baby in a sitting position. This is pretty familiar when you place your baby on soft surfaces like a bed, but this time place it on a tiny stool a make sure their feet are on the ground. Ask your kids to reach the toy on the floor to practice their moving up and down.
For starters, sitting on their own is at the first phase of gaining mobility. Your kid’s ability to sit will help it develop the muscles she/he will need when learning to stand independently.
How is this helpful? Learning to sit and stand up will allow your baby to practice transitions and strengthen its legs and upper body. Sitting on a hard surface with their feet on the ground emphasizes strengthening the lower part of the body.
Encourage this anytime you play with your baby. Usually, during playtime, you can practice sitting and standing or if you have a younger child, roll a ball back and forth to help the kid to enhance its little muscles.
2. Crawling time
When a baby begins crawling, practicing moving both of his arms and legs simultaneously is crucial. These skills are very important because they are crucial for kids’ mobility for walking. Encourage your little one to crawl by setting up tasks to accomplish. For instance, sit on one side of the room and the baby on the other, and call him/her to come to you for a hug or a kiss. When the baby succeeds praise him/her for his achievements.
How is this helpful? Practicing crawling aids in the growth and improvement of a baby’s balance and sensory system, cognitive abilities, problem-solving abilities, and coordination. You can start this at an early stage with tummy time while awake and eventually the baby will start crawling.
3. Keep them barefoot
We already established that keeping the kids barefooted is the best option. This way kids feel the ground underneath it, grasp it better, and explore different textures. This is especially good for kids that are just learning to walk.
It is recommended for a kid to explore their environment barefoot, even if he/she just started walking, and only then do a thing about buying the baby’s first shoes.
Babies learn a lot about the world from their feet as they begin to walk. They sense the sensation of various surfaces, such as hardwood, carpet, and grass, and their brain modifies the behavior of their muscles and joints as necessary. This is a great thing for healthy kids’ foot development.
Of course, make sure that the area your baby walks on has no sharp objects or clutters that could cause tripping.
How is this helpful? Walking barefoot not only helps in better grasping and experiences different surfaces better. But, it also helps to make the muscles of the foot stronger and further boost stability.
4. Pulling up
As your baby grows, it starts to be more and more curious. And with days and days going by, your baby will become much stronger. Combine these two, you will get a baby pulling itself up to see or reach what it wants. This means that baby will pull itself on whatever she/he finds at hand, including your spouse, furniture, ground, chairs, and other things.
This is a great time to start helping your kids find their balance and slowly feel the ground on their feet while standing. Of course, proper support is needed so make sure you hold your kid for better balance, at least in the beginning.
How is this helpful? As you baby to pull her/himself up then show him/her how to bend his knees to return to the floor in a crawling position. This is very helpful because once your baby starts taking its first steps, this technique will ease the falls and teach them how to stand back up.
5. Walking with the help
As pulling starts, very soon your baby will be up and reaching for your hands to gain balance. At this point, you can hold your baby and make sure that he/she has a good balance. When it does encourage him/her to take a few steps with your help. By doing this, the baby will gain confidence to take stand-alone and take those first steps and will be able to move on to the next phase of walking. However, holding your baby’s arms in the air does not help your baby with its balance. Arms are an essential part of balance for babies when learning to walk. And when you hold their hands up in the air, they do not have the balance they need. Thus, it might be better to support them by gently holding them around just above their tummy or under their arms.
How is this helpful? By providing your baby support, your kid will feel more free and stable to try out standing by themselves. They will feel more secure, they will have better balance, and thus they will be encouraged to try to stand and eventually walk independently. This is a great exercise because the more baby is used to standing on its feet, the easier it will be for him/her to take his/her first steps.
6. Cruising around
Once your baby starts pulling and standing on their own feet alone, soon enough baby will start using your furniture as a support to get around. This period is also known as cruising and at this stage, babies are getting more and more mobile. Thus, it is very important to make sure that your home or area where your baby stays is baby-proof.
This is a stage where the baby will probably take at least one independent step, however, the baby will mostly push and pull on the furniture to get the balance it needs. Moving from one piece of furniture to another is part of your little one’s daily routine.
Cruise sessions can become longer over time and provide them with a lot of practice on foot, increasing their overall endurance.
How is this helpful? In addition to working the hips and thighs, cruising also strengthens the muscles of the lower body. As your baby grows, he or she will rely much less on their hands and may even forget they need any additional support at all.
7. Holding toys
Well, you’ve probably seen pictures of babies walking with holding things in their hands. Usually, those are some toys and stuffed animals. This is not a coincidence. Giving your baby a light yet bigger item/toy to hold in their hand might help them with their balance.
So, if your baby can cruise around, you can easily hand them some lightweight items to one and then to another hand. Alternatively, you might want to consider giving a kid a larger (yet still light) stuffed animal so they can try to carry it with both hands. Make sure your baby is using both hands, which is just a fancy way of saying that it should work bi-manually.
How is this helpful? A baby’s hands are occupied while he or she is cruising, shifting focus away from supported motions. It will be easier for your baby to work on their trunk and lower body balance if they are holding an object.
8. First independent steps and walking
If your kids might make a step or two with things in their hands, soon enough your baby will be able to walk on its own. When this happens, make a big deal out of it but don’t scare your baby. A lot of smiles, support, hugs, and kisses should happen once your kid makes fully independent steps without any support. The process of learning to walk is all about confidence, so praise and encouragement are needed every step of the way. It may take some time, trips, and falls, but it is all part of the journey. Praise and encourage your baby in each step of this process.
How is this helpful? A lot of support, love, and encouragement will motivate your baby to walk more independently. Also each time you have a chance, instead of placing your baby to sit, put him/her in the walking position on its feet and encourage it to walk. Don’t forget, practice makes it perfect.
In Conclusion About Helping Your Baby Walk
Before you know it your baby will start grabbing on things, pulling itself up, and eventually walking and running around the house. Even though this process might be longer or even shorter for some babies, it is all part of their own development pace.
At this time it is crucial to give your baby lots of love, hugs, support, and of course proper exercises to help your baby walk. As their body adjusts to this new way of moving, you can gently encourage them to move and build the muscles they need.
If you are ever concerned about your baby’s development pace or anything else related to kids’ health, you can always contact and visit your pediatrician. But always remember that some babies start walking early, while others learn to walk much later, you just have to be patient.