One of the milestones anticipated by parents is when the Little One takes their first steps. After the crawling and standing phases, the Little One will attempt to leave their grip and take a step for the first time. Standing will change the life of the Little One as it will be easier and more interesting for them to explore their surroundings. This also a good time to introduce the concept of boundaries to the Little One. Sometimes, saying “no” will teach them that freedom has certain limits. This is intended to protect the Little One from things that may endanger them.
Usually, children will begin to be able to walk as they celebrate their first birthday, but the normal range for walking in children is between 9 and 18 months old. There is no need to worry if the Little One did not undergo all the mobilization phases, such as crawling, and the important thing is that they use their hand and feet coordination to move from one place to another. If the Little One does the following things, it is just a matter of time before they are able to walk:
- Rolling around here and there
- Creeping by holding on to strong objects such as sofa
- Climbing up the stairs by coordinating their hands and feet to pull up their body
Parents can also train the Little One to be more prepared and willing to walk. The following exercises can be introduced since the age of six months:
Increase tummy time sessions
Parents can train the hands and feet of the Little One by placing them on their stomach, and then stimulating them to reach for an object that attracts their attention. Tummy time is very beneficial for strengthening the muscles of the neck and back of the Little One, which will support the body when walking.
Avoid placing the Little One in the play box or carrying them too often
During play time, try not to carry the Little One or place them in a play pen or box. The use of other equipments such as bouncers, strollers, or swings are also not recommended. Encourage the Little One to play on the floor on top of a mattress. Playing on the floor can stimulate the muscles of the body and also present them with the opportunity to support their own body.
Encourage the Little One to play catch
Parents can train the Little One to maintain their balance and also train their hand and body coordination by encouraging them to play catch. This game can be played when children are already able to sit on their own.
Allow the Little One to explore their environment
When the Little One begins moving back and forth by crawling or by depending on their hand and foot coordination, they begin to sense freedom. As long as they are not doing anything harmful, parents should allow them to do this. They will try to reach for the sofa or grasp the table, which allows them to practice to stand on their own. When this occurs, it is only a matter of time before they are ready to walk.
Use the furniture or other equipments to assist them
When the Little One is ready to try to stand or walk, parents can use the furniture, such as tables, chairs, or other equipments, for instance, toy shopping trolleys, as a tool to facilitate the Little One to support their body. In addition to the Little One enjoying the activity of pushing, practicing to walk by pushing is also in accordance to the normal body posture.
Avoid the use of baby walkers or baby walking practice equipments. Since a decade ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a recommendation against the use of baby walkers. Studies show that children trained to walk using baby walkers have a slower development of walking. In addition, baby walkers are also prohibited in the United States of America due to the high number of accidents related to its use.
Remain barefoot at home
Do you know that the use of any footwear, including socks, may restrict the balancing practices and feet sensations of the Little One? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of light footwear made of a cool material and rubber sole to prevent slips when going out.
After being aware of the information and tips to train the Little One to walk, parents will be more prepared to conduct activities together with them.