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Seeing your baby start to walk is one of the most amazing milestones a parent can witness. It’s a moment that leads to so many other firsts as they become better able to explore the world around them. It isn’t possible to predict the exact day they’ll decide to get up and take their first steps, but there are ways to help ease them into this new transition and be more mobile.

The progression to walking will take place over the first year of your baby’s life. As they build upper body strength, coordination and motor skills, they’ll begin to move more on their own.  See our previous blog on tummy time This progression will start with rolling over then on to sitting up on their own. Crawling is the next step, typically between five to 10 months of age. Once they start crawling and moving around their environment, they’ll begin testing their abilities even further by reaching for surfaces to pull themselves up on. This period is when your baby will begin testing their balance and learning to rely on their leg strength.

As they pull themselves up more and more, your baby will better develop their balance as well as the confidence to test it out. Before you know it, they’ll begin moving away from whatever they’re holding onto — whether it’s a coffee table or you — and then, they’re off! When is this supposed to happen? Babies can begin walking anywhere between 10 and 18 months, but it can take longer. It’s important to watch for this progression — as long and they’re working they way toward walking, you shouldn’t have any reason to be concerned.

How can you help this growth and development along? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Help them learn to go through the motions of standing up and sitting down by demonstrating and providing your hands for stability.
  2. Provide encouragement by cheering and clapping for them.
  3. Purchase a pushable toy that gets them up on their feet and walking with assistance. Take care to choose one that’s sturdy to avoid tipping. Make sure they still practice walking with you to assist them so they continue developing strength and balance.
  4. Put their toys on a table they can stand at to balance and adjust to their body weight being supported by their legs.
  5. Walk around the house holding their hands. Walking behind them can help them feel like they’re moving on their own.
  6. Take the necessary steps to ensure your house is properly babyproofed as they begin moving more.
  7. Encourage your baby to walk when you’re playing outside by holding onto you, a push toy or the stroller.

Once your baby is walking, continue being positive and allow them to walk as much as possible. Purchase well-fitting footwear that helps them better grip the ground so they can stay upright.

And one more thing: Be ready for them to fall. While it can be scary to see, your baby will take some tumbles as they learn to move independently. Do what you can to reduce the risks and be there with plenty of kisses if they do.

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