Ah, the milestone of milestones. Walking is often used as a turning point whereby our little ones go from babies to toddlers. This usually happens around the first birthday, but not always. It is common for some babies to walk at around 9 months, and others around 15 months. It is all about the baby, and is not something we as parents have much choice over. I think it’s safe to say that, by now, we all know that nothing in this baby world do we seem to have much control over.
From a personal ‘therapist’ perspective, I believe kids who crawl for longer periods of time develop better shoulder and hip strength from being in the 4-point position for longer. This advances them greatly at a later stage with regards to fine motor skills. Please see my post on crawling if you would like more information regarding how this happens. If your baby did start walking earlier, that isn’t of great concern, as long as the period of crawling was around 3-4 months.
That being said, here is my list of ways to help facilitate the development of walking:
There is still the endless argument of the use of a walker/walking ring to aid the development of walking. Sure enough, some babies will learn to walk sooner from using these, others will walk much later because of them. The main problem with using a walker is that the core muscles are fully supported, and the legs are not taking weight in the correct angle, straining their ligaments in the hip, knee and ankle. So whilst they may have learnt to walk sooner, the consequences will be evident later in low muscle tone, poor core strength, difficulty coordinating gross motor movements as well as poor fine motor strength due to less time spent crawling. Please see my article on why walkers and exersaucers may hinder development.
If your baby has not started walking by 18 months of age, it is recommended that you consult a doctor or therapist to determine why this may be, and also to provide you with assistance in developing the necessary skills your baby needs to walk. Please remember that each child is an individual and this is only a guideline based on typical development. Please feel free to comment or email me if you would like some more advice or ideas specific to the development of your child.