The first milestones your kids experience are too cute for words, aren't they? The first time your baby coos, rolls over, or sits up makes your proud-parent neurons start firing. But the biggest one of them all? Walking!
When you look forward to your little one's first steps, it's normal to wonder when they should do it, what's normal, and at what age you should consider intervention of any sort. These questions plagued my husband and me with our first child, who didn't walk until 18 months. Her preschool didn't take this lightly, not-so-subtly implying that she was going to fall behind and get preyed upon by other children. After a frenetic round of examinations and appointments with specialists, we discovered the truth. By the time baby number two came along and pulled the same stunt, we were prepared with much better information — and you should be, too.
According to Baby Center, most babies take their first steps "sometime between 9 and 12 months and are walking well by the time they're 14 or 15 months old." But if it takes your child a little longer, don't worry. "Some perfectly normal children don't walk until they're 16 or 17 months old." You should become concerned, however, if they're not walking at 18 months, not before.
If you're feeling concerned about your baby walking or simply want to try to speed up the process because you're so excited, here are a few steps you can take:
- Practice walking with your baby while holding them upright.
- Give your baby a safe space to cruise (pull themselves along), and let go of supports altogether.
- Stand them up and see how long they balance, then ensure they land safely when they fall.
- Make walking a game, offering lots of praise for success.
- Encourage walking by placing your baby back down in an upright (not a sitting) position.
Be patient, be kind, and make it fun, and your baby will be ready to get up and go in no time.