1 year old

10 Ways to Help a Determined Baby Learn to Walk


It's so funny how children develop at such different paces and in such different ways, they are completely unpredictable!  Ivy has been cruising along the furniture and finger walking since she was about 9 months old, so we really thought that she would walk early, but she only just took her first steps (yay!!!!) at just over a year old.  

Here's a list of all of the different things that we did to help Ivy to feel confident enough to take those first steps on her own.

1. We got her a walker to hold onto and support herself to walk around the house.  We actually ended up with a few different ones (gifts and ones that Ethan had) and as each one is different, they all helped her to develop in different ways.

We have a regular plastic walker that's quite sturdy and was a good starter for Ivy, but was quite difficult to turn corners with.  We also have a wooden trolley with blocks for Ivy to push around, which moves much faster but can kind of run away from Ivy if she pushes too hard.

For Christmas Ivy got this adorable stroller walker, which she loves!  It's great for her to push around now as it is a lot lighter, but now that she is more confident and doesn't need as much support she can manage it.  We even have a very lightweight stroller for her to try out, but she does need someone to hold it with her for now as it really does slip out from under her.

2. They say that the best way to learn to walk is with bare feet, so that they can really get a good grip and a good feel for the ground.  So we try to take Ivy's socks off as much as possible, and when she is in tights we have got her the ones with grips at the bottom to help a little bit.

3. We have encouraged Ivy to cruise along the furniture as much as she can.  We've done this by clearing off any low tables to make them accessible to her, as well as placing items along the furniture to encourage her to move along to reach it.

4. We started
finger walking with her as soon as she had shown she was ready (taking those steps cruising and with the walker already).  To start out with we would hold both of her hands securely, then slowly we started holding on less tightly, then moving onto holding one hand only, then having her just hold onto one finger.  By this point she is basically walking by herself, but she has that security of knowing that someone is there holding onto her.

5. We make sure that Ivy has the chance to walk on different surfaces throughout the day.  We have wooden floors downstairs and carpet upstairs, and we definitely notice a difference in her confidence walking in the different areas.  We were also lucky enough to go on a warm holiday recently, so that gave Ivy the chance to walk on the grass and different surfaces outside as well.

6. Another way that we help Ivy with her walking in the house, is to set up a sort of furniture obstacle course to expand her range of cruising.  We found that if we moved a small table just a couple of steps away from the couch she was actually able to turn around and take one unaided step towards it.  So then we moved more furniture around and saw that her curiosity to explore was stronger than her reservations about taking steps on her own.

7. A great way to get Ivy standing and wanting to take steps is to have some desirable items  just a few steps away and distractions.  I've found that from a young age she was able to do a lot of things before she thought she could simply by seeing toys that she wanted!  One of the things that really works for Ivy is bubbles!  Whenever we're at a baby class and they do all the bubbles at the end I'm able to stand Ivy up and she's so mesmerised by the bubbles that she stands unaided for much longer that she ever has, and those steps towards the bubbles are not far off!

8. We love to go to baby classes, many of which go up to 18 month olds, so Ivy gets the chance to watch older babies walk.  I can see her watching them and I know that it encourages her to want to be able to walk around and get to the best toys first!

9. We have also been focusing on strengthening leg muscles for Ivy.  She loves to climb and we take her to a baby gym class where she gets to climb around on a variety of different surfaces.  We also did a lot of swimming with Ivy while we were on holiday and encourage her to crawl and finger walk wherever we go.

10. It's also very important to make it fun and give them lots of praise so that it's something that they really want to do to make themselves and everyone happy.  You should have seen Ivy's little face when she took those first steps, I don't think that she quite knew what she had done, but the three of us (Ethan included) were cheering and clapping for her, so she started clapping too!

Best of luck with your (soon to be) toddler, enjoy those first wobbly steps!

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