When Will My One-Year-Old Learn to Walk?

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Liam is a budding talker, expert ring stacker, future So You Think You Can Dance contestant (I swear I have no idea who he got those dance moves from!), and major hug lover.

But our smart, 30 pound, 13 month old is not interested in walking yet… at all. 

He stands and cruises along furniture to grab our cell phone and remote controls (of course, what else?) but the second we try to get involved, he sits back down. Our stubborn, independent little man clearly does not want our help.

For the moms out there who may be concerned about their one-year-olds not taking their first steps yet, here are a few things that should put your mind at ease:

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Our pediatrician said she doesn’t even ask about walking until the 15 month mark. She just makes sure that babies are crawling, pointing, and cruising at the 12 month mark, which Liam had already been doing for a while.

So if my pediatrician isn’t worried, I’m not either.

Although I sometimes want to encourage Liam to walk, it’s important to remember the following:

child’s body has an innate understanding of the appropriate stage at which the bones, ligaments, joints, muscles and the nervous system are ready and co-ordinated to withstand the forces of erect stature. Prematurely encouraging children to walk should be discouraged since it may predispose to increased stress on spinal musculoskeletal structures, as well as possible delay in the development of neurological coordination. Several studies have hypothesized the importance of early crawling experience in the development of sensory and motor systems of the body and general motor skill development. (dynamicchiropractic.com)

Liam is an expert crawler and I do realize it’s important to let him discover these stages on his own – once he finds his balance and footing, I am convinced it’ll only be a matter of days before I am chasing him around the house like a crazy person (wishing we could go back to his crawling days!)

Once your baby is showing that he is ready to stand upright on his own and just needs that tiny “push” from you, here are a few ways you can encourage your toddler to walk while having fun:

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The Little Dundi My Early Steps Baby Walker is a soft-structured baby walker for use with infants who have demonstrated an ability to stand while supporting themselves against furniture or holding onto an adult’s hand (which is indicative of completed changes in bodily proportion and sufficient leg muscle strength needed to enable the ability to balance in upright posture.)

The unique shell design promotes a natural posture for baby – the arms are used for balancing, which is key to maintaining balance while transitioning from one foot to the other, and the risk of shoulder dislocation caused by assisting adults pulling on baby’s arms is minimized. Baby also receives visual feedback related to each step as the view of baby’s feet is unobstructed.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 10.06.26 AM.pngThe EverEarth Activity Walker is a great tool for babies learning to walk because it does not roll as fast as many other walkers on the market: the wooden wheels need to be pushed pretty hard for them to move. For this reason, it is my favorite walker for Liam who is still practicing his early, wobbly steps. I love that it’s 100% FSC certified beech.

I love this company’s eco friendly efforts! EverEarth is the only global toy manufacturer that owns its own FSC Certified forest. When you purchase an EverEarth toy, they will plant a tree for your child in their forest. They will even send you a certificate for your child to keep and cherish.

My favorite game with Liam is to throw my cell phone on one end of the couch and have him cruise as fast as he can to go get it before me. I then grab it before he does and throw it to the other end of the couch. Lots and lots of giggles guaranteed! And some walking practice as well 🙂

The bottom line of this post is to take a deep breath and let your child do his thing – I know it’s sometimes difficult when other toddlers are already speeding around on their two feet, but, just like teeth and hair growth, there is nothing wrong with a child who walks a little later than average.

It takes most babies about 1,000 hours of practice from the time they pull themselves upright to the time they can walk alone – so give your child lots of practice and pay attention to his/her progress and confidence… which is all that matters!

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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