From the pages of the Baby & Child Care Encyclopedia: Chapter 3, Starting Solids and the Toddler Years
ost babies will walk between nine and 18 months of age, but babies don’t just wake up one morning knowing how to put one foot in front of the other. It’s a process. They will likely begin by pulling themselves to standing, and then they will start “cruising” along furniture, with their hand on something solid to steady them. (This is when baby-proofing becomes especially important—any item your little one could pull on for support needs to be tip-proof or safely secured to the wall.) From cruising, your babe will begin to take tentative steps between pieces of furniture, before progressing to independent steps.
It’s common for toddlers to take a few weeks to master one skill in the walking process before moving on to the next one, so don’t be surprised if your baby cruises for a while (it will feel like forever as you watch with baited breath for those first steps!).
Tips for encouraging walking
Carry them a little less
If they never have any motivation to walk, because you’re handling all the travel from point A to point B for them, they will be less inclined to try standing and cruising.
Let them roam free (with supervision!)
We’ve all been there, when you just need to prep dinner or answer an email, and the activity saucer is right. there. But giving kiddos time to roam means encouraging curiosity and a desire to be on the move.
Try a push toy
Baby walkers are now illegal in Canada (so many injuries, plus there is evidence that they actually hinder walking progress) but a push toy is a great way for your babe to feel like they have support while navigating an open area.
Skip the shoes to start
Babies use their toes to work out the mechanics of their movements in the early days of cruising and walking. Bare feet will allow them to figure out their balance a little better.
Worried About Your Late Walker? Kids move at their own pace—in all things, forever—so the best thing you can do is be patient, especially if they are showing introductory signs of mobility, such as crawling or pulling themselves to standing. Some kids reach this milestone later than others. If you’re anxious about it, however, mention your concern to your child’s doctor.
- Prenatal 101
- Breastfeeding and the First Three Months
- Starting Solids and the Toddler Years
- An Age-by-Age Guide to Sleep
- Family Nutrition
- Kids and Mental Health
- When Your Child is Sick
- Safety and First Aid
- Milestones, Checklists and Charts