Learning to walk – 4 ways to encourage your toddler
Learning to walk – both my kids were walking at around a year. Some of my friends little ones were before and some a good deal after, but one thing we all had in common was a determination to encourage our kids in reaching their goal as best we could. Doorway fun Before they were one, my little boy and girl loved their door bouncer. It was an excellent way of getting them to use their legs without too much input from me; just a pair of watchful eyes. Being able to walk is a lot about having the strength in those little legs to get you up and at ’em. Lap trampoline Bearing weight with their legs is another milestone health visitors look out for. Some babies do it earlier on in their lives, some later, but usually from three months or so. When you hold a baby out in front of you, above your lap, they will try and take their weight on your knees with their feet. Of course you need to support them, and you mustn’t try this until they can safely hold their head, but the more practice you give them, the better the strength in their legs will be. Not only did my son delight in bouncing in doorways, he was equally bouncy on my knees. He hasn’t stopped much since. Now, at least, my knees get a break, because he has moved on to a proper trampoline! Cruise control When your little one is able to hold themselves upright and bear weight, its worth letting them explore a little more of the world around them; safely of course. My son loved to be placed against the sofa, where he would just stand and shout rather loudly – probably with delight at his new perspective on the world. In time, he started moving up and down the sofa, and so the cruising began. This is an excellent way for them to develop both the strength and co-oordination needed for walking. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for them to think a little more about problems….”How do I get there, mummy?” Make sure you are there to guide them past those sharp coffee table corners though.. As they become more adept at cruising, you can see them let go and stand for a few moments. When this happens, you can encourage them to walk away from the furniture with a “Come on, come and cuddle mummy.” This was what got my little boy moving for the first time – right the way across the lounge in a bit of a daring rush…. Helping hands We used to help our children by holding their hands and supporting them as they shuffled about too. My husband and I offered both support and encouragement as they moved from one of us to the other. This can be back-breaking as you bend to grasp their little fingers, walking with them wherever they go. It is particularly hard if they take a little time to move on to the real job of walking on their own. Walking its a tough milestone for those little people though, so don’t be surprised if it takes a little time. Just be there to help, and if you are worried, do pop in and see your health visitor. Happy exploring and good luck. Note: this article first appeared on the Yahoo Contribution Network, authored by Helen Neale. It has been reproduced by permission of the site, where it is no longer available.