Top Tips for Your Baby to Take Their First Steps
It’s a special moment when your child takes their first steps – they are now ready to go off and explore the world! The age at which they do this can vary greatly but between 10 and 18 months is considered normal. To be able to walk, your baby needs to have good core stability, leg strength, balance, coordination and most importantly; the confidence to go for it! As parents you can help encourage your child to reach this important milestone but it is not something that needs to be forced. Once your child starts showing an interest in pulling to stand, you can start giving your child opportunities to develop their walking skills using the following techniques.
Surround your child with surfaces to pull up on. Sofas and coffee tables are the perfect height for this. Start by placing toys out of their reach to encourage them to shift their weight and move their feet. You may have to hold them at their hips to begin with but your child will then start to cruise along the furniture.
You can help improve their core stability and strengthen their thigh muscles by putting toys on a slightly lower surface (at their knee height) to the side of them. They will then try to rotate and bend their knees to pick up the toy. Once they can do this, place the toys on the floor to encourage them to squat up and down.
Once your child is confident at cruising along furniture, try to make gaps between pieces of furniture so that they have to let go of the surface with one hand to reach for the next surface. Slowly increase the gap until they have periods where they are standing independently between the two pieces of furniture.
Walking with Support
Try to avoid using push toys, as this will encourage your child to lean forwards and to not take weight through their legs properly. Instead hold them at their trunk and encourage them to take steps. Try not to hold their hands as they can become reliant on this and reluctant to let go and take their own steps. By holding their trunk you can also let go when you feel they have good stability.
Encourage your child to take a few steps between yourself and someone else. They may start by falling into the other person and think it’s a game, but once they take a few steps give them lots of praise and they will be more inclined to do it again and again until they are walking!
Every child is different and they will take their first steps when they are ready, but we can provide a safe environment for them to be motivated in. If your baby is not making any attempts to take steps by 16-18 months, it is a good time to get this assessed and our specialist paediatric physiotherapists can advise on you on the next steps to take to get them going. Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post by Victoria Healey, Head of Paediatric Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.