How to encourage baby to walk

Walking is one of the biggest milestones in a baby’s development. It signifies that they are becoming a toddler. But remember, every child’s experience is different. Whether your baby is already starting to walk or they haven’t gotten the hang of it yet, there are ways to encourage them. We’ve rounded up things you can do to prepare and support them on their journey.

Signs that your baby is ready to walk

Most children take their first steps between nine and 12 months, but how exactly do you know you if your baby is ready to walk? Look out for these signs:

  • When they crawl, they drag one leg behind, which is called scooting.
  • Baby crawls while lifting their body from the ground, almost like a crab.
  • They pull themselves up to stand using furniture and other objects in the house.
  • They move around using objects like couches and coffee tables as support, which is known as cruising.

 A little encouragement goes a long way

It might take lots of patience, cheering on and encouragement to help your baby walk, but perhaps the most important way you can help is by understanding that all babies will progress at their own pace.
When your baby shows signs that they are ready to learn to walk, help them practise by standing behind them and holding their hands up for support. This helps them to balance while they try to take steps with their feet.

  • Change the way you put them back down after carrying them. Instead of putting baby down on their bum, rather put them down on their feet so that they are left standing first, before they sit. Be sure to still support them, though.
  • Tempt baby to walk by placing their favourite toy a little out of reach and asking them to walk and get the item. Remember, it’s okay if they prefer to crawl towards the toy, just as long as you encourage them, cheer them on and reward them for trying.

Toddler-proofing the house

One thing the walking phase means is that extra toddler-proofing is needed around the house. Here’s what to bear in mind to keep your home safe for a walking toddler.
Remove breakable items from baby’s reach. Vases and other decorative items on the coffee table must be packed away to avoid accidents.

  • Block electrical outlets with special outlet covers and make sure dangling cords from small electrical appliances like kettles and toasters are out of reach.
  • Look into buying safety locks for cupboards and toilet bowls, as well as corner guards to cover up sharp and dangerous corners around your furniture.
  • Reorganise your lower cupboards to make sure all cleaning and poisonous items are higher up or completely out of reach.
  • Lock up rooms around the house where possible. This way you can have peace of mind knowing that baby cannot access certain rooms, such as the bathroom.
  • Disinfect objects like the TV remote, toys and other objects your child regularly touches or nibbles on. Use a mixture of regular bleach and water to disinfect these items. Make sure you wipe off all the disinfectant solution once you’re done cleaning the items

Look out in store for the My First Steps range of toddler shoes and read more about what the range has to offer.

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Image: Gallo/Getty Images.