Every parent is thrilled at their baby’s first steps. It signals an essential milestone in their development.
As you watch your baby toddle uncertainly, there are smart ways to help build their confidence while making it a fun and stress-free time for everyone.
A few fun activities, patience and words of encouragement will make the journey a rewarding and exciting experience for you and baby.
Between 4-15 months
At this stage, your baby will start to sit up and try to toddle around on their own.
As the baby learns to sit up independently, now is the time to help them strengthen the back and leg muscles. It will help support their body weight when standing.
- Appropriate activities can include games that involve stretching their arms, like stacking or reaching for building blocks or other toys.
- For the back, you can roll a ball back and forth to encourage the baby to stretch the muscles as they reach out.
- Bounce your baby on your lap to help develop the leg muscles. Practice bending their knees to improve their motor skills when standing and sitting up.
- Use a bouncing chair to help the baby flex and strengthen the leg muscles.
When the baby begins crawling, it’s the time to help them move their arms and legs in one fluid movement.
Incorporate your baby’s favorite toys to help them develop leg coordination. Put toys slightly out of their reach, where they have to reach it. You can also place objects just over their head, so they need to stretch.
Place a toy on the opposite side of the room and let the baby crawl towards it. A hug, kiss or round of applause will build their confidence when they reach the object.
Pulling Up Stage
At around eight months old, the baby will start to pull himself up, while trying to maintain balance. As the baby begins to pull up, they may panic on the way back down.
As they stand, hold their hands and gently bend the knees to help them balance their weight as they go back onto the floor. It will help the baby learn to cushion their fall when walking on their own.
Take steps with your baby: As they build confidence, hold their hands, tuck them freely inside your legs and guide their steps as you walk along with them.
It may take some practice until the baby is comfortable stepping out on its own.
How to Cruise
When the baby is cruising, he or she will hold onto furniture or the walls for support as they move around.
- Ensure their safety by removing any objects that can quickly shift or topple over. Move heavy furniture against the wall for support.
- As they move around, hold out your hands and allow them to let go of the furniture.
- Coax the baby to let go of the support as they move around. It helps them learn to move around on their own. Place a mat or cushion to help them land safely.
- A push toy is a fun way to help boost their confidence while maintaining their balance. Make sure the toy is sturdy, with child-friendly handles and large wheels.
- Let the baby use a push toy to move around when they start to cruise. They can also use a push toy to move around while cruising.
Standing on their own
- Make balancing fun while the baby is standing on its own.
- Sit on the floor and help the baby to stand up.
- Measure how long they stand on their own before they sit back down.
- Praise the baby at every achievement.
Some babies walk sooner or later than others. Never force your baby to walk or stand if they are not ready or show fear. Let them do it naturally with your help.
Although your baby’s first steps may be tentative, it’s still a memorable occasion. Sit on the floor and egg them on excitedly as they strut around.
Let your baby walk at every possible opportunity. As his confidence grows, he may fall a few times. Continue to praise every milestone.
As you set them down, practice placing them in a standing position instead of sitting.
Learning to walk is an exciting time for you and your baby. You can help them support their body weight and build balance while stepping around.
Make their progress fun by incorporating their favorite toys to keep their interest. Cheer each step to boost their confidence in all the other steps to follow.