Walking is a milestone that parents place a lot of importance on. It could be because humans are one of a handful of bipedal animals and walking is seen as more civilized and also cleaner than crawling or creeping. Walking also marks the end of the small baby phase and the arrival of the toddler years.
Physiotherapist Kirsty Williams reminds us that it is totally normal for babies to start to walk any time from 8 to 18 months old. She believes many factors can play part in when your baby walks.
- Babies who had a difficult start in life or were unwell may have delays.
- Babies who were late to roll, sit and crawl are likely to walk later.
- Some babies are more flexible and have lower muscle tone and may also take a little longer to learn to walk.
- Some babies are more laid back and less motivated to explore the world.
It is ideal for your baby to crawl for 3-4 months before he/she walks – resulting in gross and fine motor benefits as well as improved spatial awareness. For this reason, do not rush to encourage walking. Always remember that babies are individuals and so variations in when your baby walks and achieves other milestones should be expected.
Once your little one starts walking you are going to be busy! Be prepared-ish by baby-proofing your home with these 5 Babies R Us tips:
- To prevent little fingers from slamming in the door as your toddler explores from room to room, attach Door cushions to each door and kitchen cupboard door.
- Move all breakables to out of reach places. Precious ceramics and glass picture frames are all at risk once your baby is on the move.
- Getting up from crawling to walking and toddling around means that the sharp corners of tables can harm your baby. Corner protectors are a must have.
- Keep your little one safe and contained if you are not supervising a space such as stairs by connecting a gate to the top or bottom of stairs of certain spaces you do not want your baby to go unsupervised – e.g. the bathroom.
- Cover all electical sockets with Outlet Plug protctors to ensure that little fingers or metal objects cannot be inserted into live plug holes.
Walking is an exciting phase but don’t rush your b aby to walk and once he or she is up and about, baby proof your home properly- https://www.babiesrus.co.za/home-safety.html
For more information on preparing for your baby's development and ideas for walking, read the age band chapters in Baby Sense(Faure & Richardson)
Megan Faure (OTR) www.megfaure.com
Meg is an Occupational Therapist with a special interest in babies and toddlers - specifically irritable infants; sleep problems, emotional engagement difficulties and fussy feeding. Meg is the co-author of Baby Sense and the Sense-series books. Her clinical practise is in Cape Town and she consults and speaks internationally too.