For many children, learning to walk is a natural milestone that they reach around one year of age. For others, though, it could be a milestone that they need a little extra help and encouragement to achieve. If you are worried that your little one isn't developing their walking skills quickly enough, there are a few things that you can do in order to encourage them to start taking those first steps.
Ways to Encourage Walking
Use a baby walker.
We don't mean the four-wheeled walkers; those can be very dangerous for your baby because of the risk of tipping or toppling down stairs. We mean using an adjustable baby walker like The Juppy. This allows you to help your child practice their walking skills without putting your own body in pain. Simply hold onto the straps and help guide baby around in the walking motion.
Purchase a push toy.
Push toys such as grocery carts and strollers are a great way to encourage the walking action while still giving your baby something sturdy to hold onto. There are lots of options out there, and some even offer adaptability to become ride-along toys later on, too.
Keep baby barefoot.
Don't bother with shoes until your child is ready to walk outside or on hard and cold surfaces. When they are indoors, keep the shoes off. This can help your child develop better balance, which is crucial when it comes to learning how to walk. Socks are okay on carpet but if you have hard floors the slipperiness of socks might discourage baby to take more than a few steps.
Give lots of verbal encouragement.
Whenever your baby tries to walk, let them know how excited you are about their efforts! Praise their hard work, clap for them when they succeed and don't make too big of a deal when they fall down. Getting excited about their attempts to walk will get them excited about giving it another try.
Spend lots of time practicing.
Practice, practice, practice. It might not be your favorite daily activity, but spending some time with your baby practicing their steps will pay off in the end. Devote at least 20 minutes every day to walking practice; if baby tires out before then, though, don't push it. This is, again, where a baby walker like The Juppy can come in handy because you'll be able to practice walking without strain on your body.
Remember: Some Babies Simply Need More Time
While it can be concerning when your child doesn't achieve a major milestone such as walking as soon as other children, in most cases it's no cause for alarm. Some babies simply need a little longer to learn these skills. They might have older siblings who are happy to carry them around where they want to go, or they might just take a little longer to work up the desire for more movement. That's okay! If you are really concerned or your baby reaches 15 months of age and isn't walking yet, you can talk to your pediatrician and see if there is a medical reason for the delay or if they have additional suggestions.