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  Walking – Helping the process
 
My husband and I are so eager to see those first steps. What can we do to help our baby develop quickly and well?

The first thing you can do is stop putting pressure on the baby. He will start walking when he is ready, and if you try to speed up that process you can actually end up making the baby anxious, then he will take longer to walk as he will have to recover his confidence. This is especially the case if you try and speed him up and he has a nasty fall.

The speed at which your baby takes to walk is related to his genetics, his build and his personality. A plump and quiet little chap is unlikely to walk before a lively bouncy handful of a baby with a thin build. Some babies are willing to explore and risk more easily than others. The other interesting thing is that babies who are accomplished crawlers can take longer to learn to walk, as they may be perfectly content to crawl as it gets them around so well. There are babies that never really enjoy crawling or don’t quite master it. For these babies, the urge to walk may be stronger.

What you can do is make sure that baby has all the opportunities he needs to progress at his own pace. Make your home safe for crawling and for cruising – the furniture walking that babies love so much. Loose rugs, wobbly or delicate furniture and breakables will all have to be put away temporarily. Make your home as easy as possible for baby to thrive in. Let baby go barefoot as much as possible – it helps him to grip and balance without slippery socks or chunky shoes to hinder him. Have steady furniture for him to hold onto, and have some pieces of furniture close enough together that he can move across the gaps easily. This is an aid to balancing skills.

Sometimes parents rely on things like play pens and walking rings too much, without realising that this can interfere with baby’s progress. Make sure that your baby does not spend more than a little time in each of these every day.

If your baby isn’t walking by the time he is eighteen months old, it is worth having him checked out. The fact is, many babies do not walk until they are close to 2 years old. If there is a problem, picking it up early can be a bonus in addressing it.

See also:

Walking - Regression

Walking - The right age
 
   
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