Teaching your baby how to walk requires lots of encouragement and practice.
Babies are different. Your baby may have to learn to walk or just start walking on their own. You need to be patient enough to get your baby comfortable with walking.
Below are great ways to teach your little one how to walk:
1. Have your child bounce on your lap with their feet on your legs
This will strengthen their leg muscles, especially if they are still crawling or just starting to pull themselves up.
You should also show them how to bend their knees and have them practice bending their knees so they develop the motor skills to stand up and sit down.
2. Get your baby a bouncy chair
At around 5 to 6 months of age, provide them with a bouncy chair that will help them to start building their leg muscles.
3. Use toys to entice your baby to stand
Place a toy just out of reach of your child, above them, or located in a spot they have to stand to get to.
4. Help your baby sit back down once they are standing up on their own
Most babies start to get up onto their feet on their own, before they know how to get back down, so don’t be alarmed if yours cries for help while in the standing position.
Rather than pick them up when they start to fuss, help them learn to sit down by gently bending their knees and supporting their weight until they reach the floor safely.
5. Line up your furniture so your baby can cruise more easily
Cruising is when your baby starts to use the furniture and other surfaces/objects as support as they begin to walk around. Move your furniture into a stable line, making sure it is all baby-proofed of course, so your child can easily cruise around on their own.
6. Get your baby a push toy
A push toy, like a small shopping cart, or a pint-sized lawn mower, will support your child as they practice cruising. It will also give them control as they learn to walk, refines their balance, and boosts their confidence.
If your child is just starting to cruise on their own, start with a toy that does not have wheels. Once you are confident your baby is strong enough, introduce a push toy with wheels.
Always check that the push toy is sturdy, and has a bar or handle that has a good grip, as well as big wheels, as this will make it harder for the toy to tip over.
7. Pull your baby up into a standing position
Allow your child to grip your fingers and pull them up to a standing position, so they are basically supporting their own weight. Let them walk around as you support them under their arms.
The most time your child spends exercising their legs, the sooner they will begin to try to take steps on their own.
Holding your baby as they stand will also help their legs to straighten out and prevent them from bowing later. Bowed legs typically go away by the time your baby is 18 months old, but this issue can linger until they are 3 years old.
8. Praise your baby for their efforts
Most babies seem born with an inherent desire to please their parents, and receive praise, claps, and shouts of encouragement. So let your little one know when they are doing a great job at standing or cruising by offering them visible encouragement and praise.
9. Don’t buy indoor walking shoes for your baby
As long as the indoor surfaces are clean and safe for your child to walk on, let them walk and explore barefoot (or, if you’d prefer, non-slip socks) as much as possible to help build muscle tone in their feet and ankles, help their arches develop, and help them learn balance and coordination.
If your baby is going to be walking outdoors, in most cases they should be fine going barefoot. If there is a need for footwear due to heat, cold or unsafe surfaces, make sure their shoes are lightweight and flexible. Avoid tall booties or high-top sneakers as too much ankle support can actually slow down your little one by constricting their movement.
10. Avoid trying to force your baby to stand or walk with your help if they don’t want to
This can instill fear and delay them from standing or walking.
Many babies will walk when they are ready, so don’t be alarmed if your baby doesn’t start walking until they are 18 months old, or possibly, older than 18 months.
11. Turn balancing into a game
To encourage your little one to get used to balancing on their own two feet, try to make balancing a fun game, with lots of encouragement and praise.
12. Encourage your baby to walk, instead of sit
Do this by placing them down in a standing position, as opposed to a sitting position on their butt.
14. Make their first steps into a big deal
The first steps are a big moment for your little one, so be sure to be as excited and encouraging as possible about your baby’s first steps.
Cheering your child as they walk indicates they are doing something right and will give them the confidence to keep walking.
15. Expect some stops and starts
Don’t be too alarmed if your little walker goes back to crawling after a bad fall or an illness. Your child is also working on other developmental feats like sounding out names or tackling finger foods, so they may take a few weeks or even a month, break from walking.
16. Let your baby fall, as long as it is safe
When your baby starts to walk, they may bob, weave, and even take a dive as they try to refine their walking skills. As well, most babies don’t have good depth perception so they tend to bump into or fall into things rather than walk right up to them.