Getting Baby to Walk

That's one small step for...
Creative Commons License photo credit: Yoni Lerner

As parents, we live for those milestones in our babies’ lives. Those first words, those first bites of solid food and, of course, those first steps, are the stuff memories are made of. Long after your baby has grown up and flown the coop, you’ll look back to those firsts and smile.

Naturally, we’re anxious to see these things happen. We want our kids to develop normally, or even ahead of the curve. So, we do things to encourage our babies to talk, to eat, and to walk.

Getting baby to walk is also something of a self-rewarding activity. Carrying baby from place to place gets tiring, and as baby gets bigger it gets more tiring.

Still, you need to realize that your baby isn’t going to walk just because you want her to. She’s going to walk when she’s darn god and ready. The fact is that things like standing up and walking are dependent not only on your baby’s muscular and coordination development, they’re dependent on desire, confidence, and motivation.

In fact, you need to be careful here. If you try to push your baby into any given motor skills milestone, such as walking, you run some risks. If he can’t keep up, he’s going to sense your disappointment. This can affect confidence, and it can slow him down considerably.

Keep in mind, too, that walking is like many other milestones in that the acceptable range where children learn to do it is considerable. Really, as long as your baby is walking at least short distances by his 2nd birthday, you should be good. Talk to your doctor, of course, if you’re concerned, but many babies that walk late aren’t developmentally delayed in any way. They  just don’t want to do it.

Finally, remember that just because your baby can walk doesn’t mean she’s going to be walking everywhere. Your baby doesn’t view walking as a “follow you” activity. Instead, it’s more of a general motion, coming and going type activity. Paradoxically, many babies who first learn to walk will stand still or sit down when you get up to move around, simply because she still wants to be carried.

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