As your baby’s first birthday approaches, many parents start to wonder when their child will start to walk. Family and friends not only share the excitement of the child turning one, but often question those first steps with, “Is he walking yet?” Harmless questions, but inquiries that often lead parents to worry about their child. The Pediatric Therapists at Woman’s Center for Wellness want you to be assured that every child achieves motor milestones at different times.
There is a wide range for acquisition of motor skills based on the child’s personality, exposure to their environment, and activity levels. Most consider 9-15 months the average age for independent walking, but many physicians are not concerned until 18 months.
Ultimately, the child will walk when he or she is ready. But, as a parent or caregiver, there are a few things you can do to encourage them:
- Tummy time is important for developing the skills and strength necessary to creeping, crawling, standing and walking.
- Place toys on different surfaces around the play area, closer to the child’s eye level when standing to encourage standing instead of sitting on the floor.
- Encourage your child to stand on his toes to reach some toys and to squat down low to reach others.
- Encourage reaching in different directions to strengthen balance reactions.
- Have your child push weighted toys to help encourage moving through space with less reliance on stable support for standing.
- Encourage climbing activities including stairs and slides for increasing leg strength.
- Bring your child to different environments including outdoor playgrounds, indoor gyms and other homes to experience different terrains and textures.
- Allow your child to go barefoot, as it is important for them to use their feet and ankle muscles to develop balance and stability.
If your concerns continue, please consult your pediatrician or seek the advice of a pediatric therapist at Woman’s Center for Wellness.