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Must Have Tips for Helping Your Baby Learn to Walk

June 15, 2019, Author: Tamra Cater

This post contains affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission at no cost to you if you click on them and make a purchase. 

Helping your baby learn to walk takes time, as there are steps that have to happen first. But, in the end, the steps and practice that it takes to get there is all worth it!

I remember when my daughter took her first steps, and it is something that will stick with me for a long time. My husband and I were sitting on the floor facing each other, and she’d walk a few steps between us.  It was an amazing moment! I think most parents find this to be such a memorable and vivid moment in the lives of their little ones!

So, how do we actually get a baby to the point of walking by themselves? It starts from the beginning. There are lots of muscles that have to develop first in order to support a baby’s first steps. As such, motor development occurs in a sequence: Babies roll over first,  sit up, crawl, stand, and finally walk. We can help support this process by engaging babies in activities that will develop the required muscles.

Here’s a free printable that summarizes all the motor milestones for learning to walk:

helping your baby learn to walk

The First Steps to Learning to Walk

1.As I discuss in another post, tummy time is super important. This post offers tips on how to engage in this and what to use, but tummy time helps develop the neck, back, and arm muscles that are needed in order for a baby to pull themselves up to a standing position. So initially, tummy time can be used to help a baby learn to roll over (which happens at around 2-3 months of age) and eventually push themselves up with their arms. For example, I’d actually physically help my baby roll over many, many times. Eventually, those muscles would develop, and she pushed herself over one day to her own surprise!!

2. Babies will eventually be able to sit up with some support at around 4-5 months. During this time, I’d sit behind my baby and help support her. I’d actually sit her in front of an activity cube, and we’d play with that together. Here’s an example of what I used:

In doing this, my daughter would further develop her back and ab muscles, which will help her sit up on her own. Although this can vary, my daughter sat up without assistance at about 7-8 months of age. It would also help her develop her arm muscles as she’d learn to reach out and grasp/push objects.

3.Crawling is the next skill that will develop. My daughter, honestly, never spent a lot of time in this stage. Most babies will crawl between the ages of 6-10 months. For tips on how to encourage crawling, check out this article- Steps Toward Crawling

Once your baby is on the move, it’s definitely time to baby proof!! For tips on baby proofing your home, visit my other blog post here.

4. Standing is the next skill to develop. In order to practice, I’d start by getting my daughter close to her toy chest (she was tall enough to be able to balance herself on it if she stood up) and then place some interesting toys such as blocks on the top of the toy chest. Initially, I’d help her time and time again to get her to a standing position. We practice this a lot! We’d also have times where I would build her a little tower of blocks, so when she’d get to a standing position, she could knock it down. This would make it extra interesting and fun for her!

In terms of when she actually stood on her own while holding onto to something, it came about during a very random time. My husband and I were eating pizza with the pizza box open on the coffee table. My daughter comes over and just pulls herself right up to a standing position! Interestingly, from then on, she has always loved pizza! I guess interesting objects do help encourage certain motor skills.

 

Tips for Helping Your Baby Learn to Walk

Now that your child can stand, it’s time to help guide them by having them “walk” by holding onto furniture or even your hands. For example, I’d have my daughter stand up and hang on to the couch. I would place an interesting toy out of reach to the left or right side of her. In doing this, she’d have to take a couple of steps to get the object. In addition to doing this, I would help my daughter walk by holding her hands and helping her take steps. After lots of practice, this helped build up her leg muscles for actual walking without any assistance.

Another helpful tip is to allow your baby to push objects that are low and stable. This could be pushing a sturdy box or basket along a wooden floor. Or in my case, see the video of my daughter below:

 

When helping your baby learn to walk, it is advisable not to use walkers and jumpers. According to one article, walkers and jumpers actually result in babies learning to walk a month later than those who do not use them. This article also suggests that walkers allow babies to move around before they are physically ready. In addition, walkers can be dangerous and result in injuries such as falling down stairs.

Eventually, my daughter was physically ready to walk on her own. She’d occasionally stand up, let go of whatever she was holding onto, and take a few steps. Once we saw this occurring, this is when my husband and I would start having her practice by taking steps between each of us. Here’s my daughter when she had just learned to walk:

You will notice in this video that she’s walking a little bow legged. This is normal and happens because of the baby’s proportions. She’s still “top heavy,” so essentially, she has a lot of weight that comes from her head compared to the rest of her. As her proportions changed, she started to walk differently or “normally.”

At What Age do Babies Learn to Walk?

Most babies will start taking steps between 9-12 months of age. Some are well on their way with walking by the time they are 14-15 months (this is when my baby started walking). However, according to one article, it’s still normal if they don’t walk until 16-17 months. If you do have concerns, I would suggest talking with your child’s health provider.

Final Thoughts on Helping Your Baby Learn to Walk

First of all, know that it’s ok if your baby does not learn every motor skill early or even on time. Some babies do not do these things until a little later. As mentioned above though, if you do have concerns, seek advice from your child’s health provider.

My biggest suggestion in helping your baby learn to walk is practice and lots of it! And make it fun and exciting for them! This will help encourage those behaviors and skills.

This is such an exciting time for you and your child! I know you will celebrate big when your baby takes his or her first steps! As I did 🙂

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helping your baby learn to walk




 

 

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comments (23)

  • avatar image
    This is such a lovely post! I never knew walkers were catastrophic towards children learning to how to walk. Thank you for educating me on this. Your daughter is such a cutie btw.

    Eric

    June 16, 2019 Reply
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      Thank you so much :)

      Tamra Cater

      June 16, 2019 Reply
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    Love the activity cube! It is indeed covered with little objects babies can engage with. When your child starts walking, it is such a big step for them and you. Those little ones are growing up and becoming curious. Let them explore but definitely start baby-proofing!

    Jaya Avendel

    June 16, 2019 Reply
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      Thanks for reading!

      Tamra Cater

      June 16, 2019 Reply
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        This post is great! I learned a lot while reading this thanks for being able to educate me. Thanks for sharing!

        Hailey Miranda

        June 17, 2019 Reply
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          Thanks!

          Tamra Cater

          June 17, 2019 Reply
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          I had heard other people with feelings against walkers. I didn't know why. Fortunately we don't have stairs. We like the walker because it gives our baby some independence :)

          Annie

          June 20, 2019 Reply
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    Great post! Wish I had this when my was young.

    Kimberly Leatherwood

    June 16, 2019 Reply
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      Aww my baby is 4 month and already wanting to sit up. Where has time gone. Thank you for the great tips. I will be putting them into action

      Nadia

      June 18, 2019 Reply
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        That's awesome! I know, it goes quick!

        Tamra Cater

        June 19, 2019 Reply
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    Great post

    Rachael Kirkwood

    June 17, 2019 Reply
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    Such a great post! There is so much to learn about babies walking, I'm sure this post will help many parents. Thank you for sharing!

    Mariam

    June 17, 2019 Reply
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    This is so helpful..I have a friend who has a 5 month old baby and I'm going to forward this to her.

    Mansi

    June 17, 2019 Reply
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      Thanks!

      Tamra Cater

      June 17, 2019 Reply
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    I loved tummy time and watching my babies interact!

    Chocoviv

    June 18, 2019 Reply
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      Great post! Very informative. My 9 month old's favorite activity is pushing objects she's holding onto so she can walk. Good to know the approximate ages that is "normal" for walking. My husband kept bragging he was walking at 9 months and it was making me nervous. Now I'm confident she'll get there when she's ready.

      Kaci

      June 25, 2019 Reply
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        She definitely will! I was nervous about the same thing!

        Tamra Cater

        June 25, 2019 Reply
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    This is good advice for first time parents, we all know new parents are secretly scared with lots of questions. I will always remember my babies first steps. You broke it down perfectly.

    Sherley

    June 19, 2019 Reply
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      Thank you!

      Tamra Cater

      June 19, 2019 Reply
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    Very informative post! I don’t have any kiddos of my own yet but I love learning anything I can about parenting before hand!

    Arika

    June 22, 2019 Reply
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      Thank you!

      Tamra Cater

      June 22, 2019 Reply
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    Great article! My daughter just turned one and is not yet walking. I think she will be soon, she stands and tries so hard but after one step she goes down to her hands and knees. She does great when we hold her hands though!

    Amanda@jazzysmama.com

    June 29, 2019 Reply
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      Yes, it definitely sounds like she's close! That's awesome!

      Tamra Cater

      June 29, 2019 Reply