Witnessing your little one’s first steps is an exhilarating experience, and it’s about to become even more interesting! Once you know everything behind this incredible milestone, you’ll be amazed by your daughter’s accomplishment.
On average, it takes babies around 12 months to learn how to walk, because they have so many other behaviors to learn beforehand, and so many muscles to strengthen. Beginning with head and posture control, all the way to standing up all on her own. You’ll notice how her whole body will need to be pretty strong.
Once your little one is able to hold her head up, her next step is to sit up without support; which occurs between 6 and 8 months. Your child is not only using her lower body to walk, she needs to have strong arms, core and neck muscles as well.
Besides this, she also needs to learn how to reach for things. This is necessary, in order to grab on to an object and pull herself to a standing position. It is also necessary when she is trying to maintain her balance. She needs strong arms and core muscles to accomplish it, and plenty of practice. Little by little, she will start to do it without help and even hold the position for a few seconds.
Once she has mastered standing up with support and has improved her coordination, she will start sliding when holding on to furniture to try to get an object. This all builds a strong foundation for her to give her first steps.
She has been trying out different things with you by her side, so her confidence is growing stronger and this feeling will help her try new and different things. One day, she will give walking a go. She might even start walking without realizing what she is doing. Using objects for support or maybe the fact that you are next to her holding her hand makes her feel safe enough to try.
How can she build the muscle strength needed for walking? Practice and practice. It’s like an athlete that doesn’t train before a race, he will not have what it takes! The same thing happens with your little one, so how can you help her out?
You’ve probably watched her play tirelessly for months now. Fun and games are great ways for toddlers to master skills while having fun. One of the best things you can do to help her out is to give her opportunities to practice her set of skills in a safe environment.
Here are some cool activities you can try at home to support her walking skills:
- Encourage ballistic reaching skills: As we mentioned, she needs to develop reaching before walking. One fun way to encourage it is to place dangling toys in front of her. It can be while she is on a bouncing seat. She will try to reach and grab them, and after a few times you’ll see her accomplish this on her own.
- Runway for crawlers: Gather a towel and a small baby blanket. Lay them out in a line. Sit at one end and encourage your baby to crawl towards you, by cheering her on. This will help strengthen her muscles and improve her coordination. These gross motor skills can be precursors of walking.
- Grab and go for a walk: Put one of your baby’s favorite objects just out of reach. Encourage her to grab it and then bring it to you. This will contribute to foster muscle coordination, motor planning, and even problem-solving skills.
- Roll on the floor together: While both of you are laying on the floor, create a cool game in which you need to roll on the floor. Waist and legs will be moving together, which helps coordination. You can also modify the game and try different moves. For example, tell her to roll while putting her legs up in the air. This won’t be possible and you’ll both have a laugh, while she also puts into use her cause and effect thinking, trying to figure out what’s keeping her from rolling. Encourage her to explore more moves to help her develop more muscle control.
- Floor play: Give her time to play on the floor, to move around freely from one place to another, and to explore new movements and skills. Keep her on the move.
- Make an obstacle course! You can use pillows, boxes, or toys, and encourage her to move. She can crawl, grab, or even climb them fostering her strength and coordination.
- Take her for a walk! If she is not walking yet, she might see other children walking and want to try it too. This can be a great motivation for your little one to start walking on her own. During these walks, you can hold her hands and give her support to try and take a few steps. Take advantage of safe surfaces, such as grass, so she can get a taste of what it feels like to walk on different surfaces.
Remember, every kid moves at his own pace and your little one is working on what she needs before she is ready to give her first steps. As she keeps practicing the same movements again and again, her balance will become better and her confidence will grow.
Much of her development abilities will be determined by the interactions she has with you. Make them count!
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