It’s true that every child develops in their own time and T was no different. At 10 months old, he was holding our hands, toddling along. We were convinced he was well on his way to walking and predicted that he would be an early walker.
Jump to the present day at 14 months old, T has only just gained the confidence to toddle off on his own. Despite taking his first unaided steps at 11 months, he has spent the last 3 months clinging on for dear life, terrified to stand alone. As I’ve never wanted to force him, I’ve watched him as he walked around the walls and furniture or used his push along train to move from A to B. But I do ask myself whether there was a way that I could have gently encouraged him rather than leaving him to it, knowing that he could walk unaided.
I decided to ask some fellow parents for their top tips to encourage baby to walk and this is what they said:
(Please note that this post is for the purpose of building confidence and you should not force your baby to walk)
8 Ways to Encourage Baby to Walk
- Place furniture a short distance away so that your baby can toddle from one to the other. You can increase the gap as your child builds confidence.
- Wearing suitable shoes helped Beth at Twinderelmo’s children become more confident.
- Positive reinforcement! Make a fuss over even the littlest of steps. Encouragement was a big factor for Simone at Dog Day and Delights too when building her little one’s confidence.
- Turn it into a game. Enthusiastically count their steps or how long they can stay stood up for. Give them praise after each attempt.
- Soft play is a good way to build muscle, develop balance and combat the fear of falling. Of course, it’s not ideal for learning how to walk due to being on unsteady ground so you’re not going to get a toddler from soft play visits alone!
- Anna from In the Playroom says that another way of building muscle is to encourage them to climb the stairs (with an adult – obviously!). The stronger their muscles, the more confident and sturdy they’ll feel when it comes to standing and walking. (Remember to get a stair gate first. It’s amazing how quickly they get up those stairs once they know how!)
- Give them a reason to want to walk. Place a toy or a treat that they will want to reach out to grab. They’ll soon forget they’re taking steps as their focus is elsewhere. Kate from Kate on Thin Ice jokes that Smarties on the arm of a chair worked for her, haha!
- By far the most popular answer was using a push along walker. Eventually, they should gain enough confidence to take off on their own! However, it’s important not to allow your child to become too dependant on one (like my child!). Thanks Jemma (Mayflower Blogs), Lianne (Ankle Biters Adventures), Zoe (Mummy and Liss), Renee (Close Enough to Kiss) and Alison (Five Little Stars) for this recommendation.
And there we go, 8 ways to encourage baby to walk.
It’s important to add that your child should not be walking before they are physically able to. There are plenty of resources online which take you through the development stages of learning to walk. I would highly recommend giving those a read.
Remember, forcing your child to walk is NOT the way to encourage them. They will let you know when they are ready. The above tips are merely to help build confidence and it’s vital that you go at your baby’s pace. It should be seen as a fun activity that your baby wants to do.