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Toddler Talk: Walking

“Honk honk!” My daughter looked over at me, checking to see if I was paying attention.

She was pushing a toy ride on car around our living room. It had a play horn that made honking noise when pressed. It was cute … the first twenty times she pushed it.

There were other buttons. Ones that made pretend radio sounds and played happy music tunes. But no … she liked the horn the most. Oh well.

She was just starting to walk, and could take steps if she was holding on to an object such as this toy car or a walk-behind push toy. It was exciting and a little scary to see that she was now mobile. She loved her newfound freedom. She could move fast and we had to be extra careful to keep an eye on her!

Babies at nine months of age should be able to pull themselves up to stand and start to take steps sideways while holding on (cruising). By one year of age, they should be able to stand alone unsupported for a few seconds. Then by fifteen months, taking steps and walking is the normal milestone. At eighteen months, your toddler should be on the run.

To encourage your child to learn to walk, having toys that encourage walking can be of help. Walk-behind toys where toddlers stand holding on and push are good for this purpose. However, walkers where babies sit inside and can scoot themselves around a room can be unsafe. Every year, children in these have accidents where they scoot themselves down stairs that are not blocked or use them to reach places that are not childproofed. These types of walkers are not recommended.

Many babies love to jump, and the devices that allow babies to sit supported and jump around are great for developing lower leg strength. However, be careful not to let your baby stay in these devices too long (not for hours at time, a few minutes is fine). Since the babies using these devices jump by pushing off on their tippy toes, it can be difficult at first for these babies to learn to stand flat on their feet when learning to walk. They sometimes take a bit longer than others to learn to walk.

Walking is a fun milestone that we get really excited about … especially if it is your first child. It is a sign that your child is growing, provides new options for activities, and more importantly, gives your arms a much needed break now that you do not have to carry her everywhere!

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