The Stages of Walking
Your little baby is growing by leaps and bounds and as she nears her first birthday, she shows all the signs of taking her first steps holding your hand. Every child is different and there are no hard and fast rules but around the age of 10 months your baby would be pulling herself up from her knees. Once she has mastered the skill of pulling herself up to stand and is steady on her feet she will practice her first steps by shuffling sideways. As your baby gets more confident and finds her legs can support her weight, she will take her first steps taking your support or holding onto some furniture.
Sometime between the ages of 10 and 13 months your baby will be able to stand on her own and pull herself up to the standing position unaided. Her unsupported steps will occur after she has mastered standing on her own and once she has taken that first step on her own, she will quickly learn to toddle greater distances. That first step will quickly become two, then three and your toddler is on her way to walking on her own.
At first, your baby will be very unsteady on her feet. She’s likely to launch herself into an open space and take several wobbly steps, before losing her balance and sitting down with a thud. When you’re helping your baby to walk, get down to her level so she can hold your hands without having to lift her arms up, as this will upset her balance.
Walking on Her Own
When babies first stand or walk, they try to balance themselves. Your baby is learning how to coordinate the movements of her limbs. Initially she will stand with her legs placed wide apart and knees stiff. As she gains control of different muscles she will relax her wooden posture and move more smoothly. At first she will only be able to move forwards and will find it extremely difficult to stop, once she is on the go! Learning to walk requires a great deal of concentration and energy.
Your child’s hesitant and wobbly steps will gradually become more graceful and coordinated. She will begin walking taking longer steps, pointing her feet straight ahead and not lifting her feet quite so high off the ground. Initially she will hold her arms out when walking to keep her balance but over the next year she will gradually become more skilful at walking. As your baby masters standing from a sitting position and walking on her own, she will also master other skills such as walking while carrying a toy, climbing up and down stairs and stooping and picking up things without having to sit down first.
Baby on the Move
Once your baby is on the move you will have to watch her constantly. She will attempt to climb on furniture, enjoy going up and down stairs and generally be any place her curiosity leads her to. Take special care to remove any electrical leads that are trailing on the floor and cover all open low plug points with plaster. You will have to make your home baby-safe as your little wanderer can be in danger in the twinkling of a second.
By the age of two your toddler will be more adept at walking and will walk with her feet closer together as her balance improves. She will probably be able to stop and bend to pick things up while walking along. She will have grown stronger and her legs will now be longer, so she can walk faster. By the time she is two and a half she will be far more confident, flexing her feet and putting her heel down first instead of putting the whole sole of her foot down at once. This means she will be able to walk much faster and will become far more confident, looking around and exploring the world around her. She is well on her way to being an active can’t-sit-still toddler.
Runing for Fun
Young toddlers very often chase each other and enjoy their newfound mobility. In the company of other children little ones are more likely to become more skilful at walking and running. Most children can’t run properly until they’re two and a half or three years old. Around the same time they may attempt their first jump, standing on tiptoe and jumping into the air.
Playing with a Ball
Games involving throwing, catching and kicking a ball will help your child develop good coordination of hands, feet and eyes and improve her balance. Children as young as 10 months enjoy playing with balls. Roll a ball along the ground towards your child and she will stretch for it if she’s sitting or crawl after it and maybe even bump into it. A ball is quite a fascinating object for your toddler. As she matures physically she will be able to kick a ball and throw it without losing her balance. As your child gets older, she will flex her arms at the elbow and move in the direction of a ball to catch it.
Your toddler is well on the way to asserting her independence and her separateness from you. As she grows and moves from one stage to the other praise her and encourage her so that she feels competent and positive about her new- found abilities.