You’ve been excited about each of your baby’s milestones, raising up, crawling, and standing. You want to know when to expect each one and get so delighted to see your little one doing new things as they explore their world. So, when should you expect your baby to start walking? And how can you encourage them to walk?
When Babies Start Walking
Babies usually begin pulling themselves up by holding onto coffee tables and couches around 9 or 10 months. They will often begin cruising at this point. This means they are “walking” around the edge of the couch or table by holding onto it. It can also include walking by holding onto your leg or arm. It’s not uncommon for them to take their first unaided steps around this time. When they start walking varies. Some babies will start walking by themselves in the first few days or it may be months after they start standing.
This could make walking possible around 9 months of age. Most babies don’t start really walking until they are around 12-14 months. Once they start doing it, they should be proficient walkers by 15 months.
How soon a baby starts walking sometimes seems to be influenced by when their parents started walking. Their temperament also plays a part. The more energy your baby has and the more daring they are, the more likely they are to be early walkers. Calmer, quieter babies are more likely to be later walkers.
Anytime between 9 and 18 months is perfectly normal. And don’t be surprised if your baby starts walking and then stops for a while. It’s fairly common for babies to get distracted by another skill or play it safe for a while if they fall or get sick. They’ll get back to it.
Signs Your Child Will Walk Soon
Each motor skill gets your baby closer to walking. They are becoming accustomed to getting around and building muscles. Once they begin to pull themselves up and stand, walking could happen anytime. It is more likely to occur gradually as your baby develops more balance and stands for longer periods of time. Once they begin cruising, walking could happen at any time.
Sleep regression is also an indicator. Babies and toddlers often enter a sleep regression stage after building a new skill. They’re too excited to sleep, and there’s too much to learn and do! If your baby’s suddenly struggling to sleep, they may be excited about their progress and about to break out into walking.
How to Encourage Your Child to Walk
The first step is to give them the opportunity to walk. Provide more time outside of the stroller or activity station. They’ll be free to crawl, stand, and even attempt to walk.
Choose the right shoes. Have them wear no socks or non-slip socks inside and in safe outdoor environments. Having foot-to-floor contact helps babies learn balance and coordination, form arches in their feet, and build muscle tone.
When your baby needs to wear shoes, choose lightweight shoes with low styles that don’t cover their ankles. You want their feet to move freely.
Help your baby cruise. Childproof things they might want to hold onto, like the coffee table, TV stand, and end tables, by making sure there aren’t sharp edges or things you don’t want them to get to and that the table won’t tip over. You can also position these items where the baby can move from one to the other easily so they can fully explore this new skill and get excited.
Walking toys allow babies to stand up and “walk” while holding onto them and they are also great encouragers. However, infant walkers are usually discouraged. They don’t help your baby learn to stand by themselves or promote good posture, but they can allow them to be mobile before everyone’s ready for it and can lead to accidents.
Hold their hand. This can work similarly to cruising. Your baby gets used to taking steps and builds muscles while using your hands for support.
Be sure to put tempting items just out of reach. If your baby is standing up or cruising, this can motivate them to take new steps. They’ll be thinking about how to get the item and might just try this new thing to do it.
Call Petite Dreamers
If your child is suffering from sleep regression or has never developed healthy sleep habits, sleep training can help them and your family get the rest they need. Contact our sleep consultants to schedule a free discovery call.