Helping your 1-year-old explore and walk around his world is a rewarding experience for both you and your baby. According to Parenting, it takes most babies around 1,000 hours of practice before they're comfortably walking on their own. If your little one seems to have the urge but can't quite put the pieces of his independent walking puzzle together, use a few tried and true methods to encourage him to be upright and mobile.
Items you will need
- Push toy
Encourage “cruising”--holding onto furniture or other objects for support while walking--if your baby is not already doing this on his own. Placing your baby's favorite toy on the living room couch or on an end table encourages him to use the furniture for support to get to it.
Create a safe walking zone inside your home. Parenting recommends removing any safety hazards from the area -- such as furniture with sharp edges, area rugs and toys -- that could cause injury by tripping or after a fall. This is her room to explore, walk, cruise and crawl without the danger of serious injury from the inevitable falls.
Set your baby down in a standing position. Many babies are discouraged from walking simply because it's difficult to stand from a seated position. Entice him to walk by holding out his favorite toy. While he's in a standing position, hold the toy just out of his reach. Eventually his curiosity will get the better of him and he will take a few steps to retrieve his toy.
Provide a sturdy push toy for your child. Choose a toy with four wheels and sturdy construction that can keep your baby upright but won't take off with the slightest push.
Provide constant encouragement and praise in the form of hugs and kisses after each attempt. No matter if your baby successfully reaches your outstretched arms or falls flat on his face after two steps, it's that positive reinforcement that will spur your little one on to success.
- Skip the shoes and allow your baby to walk barefoot inside. Restrictive shoes are adorable but they make it more difficult for a baby to keep his balance. If you need to cover his feet for warmth or other reasons use socks with non-skid soles. Once your baby is steady enough to walk outdoors purchase a pair of sturdy shoes for him.
- Avoid the urge to purchase a walker with wheels. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, besides posing a serious safety hazard walkers can actually discourage your baby from walking. The AAP recommends purchasing a stationary activity center or playpen instead.
- Speak to your doctor if your baby isn't consistently walking by 18 months. All babies develop at their own pace, but if your baby is still having trouble walking by this age voice your concerns to his pediatrician.
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