6 Tips for Helping Your Baby Walk Independently-That Actually Work!

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Are you trying to figure out ways to help your baby walk independently? Babies start walking independently between the ages of 8 months and 16 months, but really they walk when they’re ready. We are in such a hurry for out babies to grow up, aren’t we? Yet each milestone reached is bittersweet! All kids are different and I firmly believe they reach milestones only when they are ready, but I have noticed a little bit of help from caregivers does make some difference. And so, here’s how I’ve helped both of my children walk independently.

Follow their lead from the beginning!

If your baby tries to stand on his feet at a few days old (super rare!) Let her! If she seems to love it when you hold her up so she’s planting some weight on her feet, do it! Of course, don’t let her hold all of her weight because they have to gradually build muscle for weight bearing. But what I have found is that babies who like to use their feet early on, typically walk sooner than those who prefer to sit only.

My firstborn, Jake, seemed to want to be on his feet since day one! I am not joking. He always pulled himself up while we held him on our lap so he could use those chunky legs. And we were of course thrilled at his ambitious character early on. Even though Jake walked “on time” at 11 months, I know it helped that we encouraged him to stand whenever he wanted to.

Walker or don’t walker?

The general thought about using a walker is that even though your child might enjoy using one (mine sure did), they do not encourage independent walking and babies will not walk earlier if they use one.

Both of my kids really liked using a walker and in fact used the same one with all the songs and little gadgets on the front. They’d walk it across the loving room and then stop to play the songs and open the little doors and shapes. And you can change the stiffness on the wheels so that your baby is less likely to fall on their face from it moving too quickly, which I definitely liked. You can see the this V Tech walker they used and loved here! Or when you’re finished here, come back to this blog to see a whole list of my 2018 Favorites! These are some items that made life with 2 young ones so much easier!

Offer support structures

I noticed at a friend’s house that my crawling baby, Jolene, took advantage of all of my friend’s furniture. My friend has a few small tables and chairs in the living room and Jolene would crawl to one and pull herself up, walk around it and crawl to the next. If the other piece of furniture was close, she’d even try to walk to it! So when we got home I added a chair to our living room and placed a small table close to it as well. Did it help her wall independently? I’m not sure, but it certainly encouraged her to practice using those feet!

Walk to me, Baby!

My favorite videos are those where the baby is walking to a parent with a huge, proud smile on her face and the parent is squealing “Come on, baby!” They just melt my heart because I know that feeling you get the first time your baby takes steps toward you! It’s a mixture of their expression, your pride and the realization that your child is growing up. Ok, tears are peeking out right now…

Once your baby is standing, place them a couple of footsteps away and call for them to walk to you as you sit on the floor, arms out-reaching. My kids really enjoyed this and I think its probably my number one tip for how to get your kiddo to walk independently.

Use the best first shoes! Stride Rite

Babies need to feel safe and sturdy on their feet. So once they are taking some steps get them new, high quality shoes. This may be the only time you have to buy an expensive pair of shoes for your child! After mine were walking a while I only bought shoes at second hand stores, but those first shoes need to offer the right support, be comfortable and light weight.

My son’s first pair of shoes, by Stride Rite, helped him tremendously! They are made to fit snugly, with support in all the right places and not bulky or impeding steps at all. And Jolene loved them too, and they really made walking outside easier for her. There’s some adorable Stride Rite shoes these days, like these on Amazon.

one year old walking

Once walking, let em walk!

Once your baby is finally taking some independent steps, encourage him to do so more often than you carry him. It’s the simple phrase, practice makes perfect, and true.

Once my babies were walking independently, they were like wild little animals, all over the place! I had a hard time remembering to not carry them everywhere, but I tried to make a conscious effort to let them walk whenever possible.

It’s such a fun time, that first year of your baby’s life. So many little firsts that we hurry into existence, we can’t wait for them to reach it. For me, seeing Jolene walk independently, without holding tightly to my fingers, was a last first for us. But it sure was a sweet one! ?

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