How children learn to walk

How children learn to walk

The first steps normally occur between 10 and 18 months. Moreover, about half of the children only get to take a few steps to their 1 st birthday.

Before walking, however, there are specific steps to take. Each must be crossed to go to the next step.

Skills to develop before walking

As walking depends on gross motor skills, children must learn to walk by having already developed the large muscles in their trunk that support and allow movement of the neck, shoulders, back, arms and legs.

As the desire to explore encourages your child to take his first steps and allows him to develop his muscles, avoid leaving him too often in his park, in his chair or in his exerciser.

For the baby to walk, his brain must also have reached a certain stage of development and be able to send the appropriate messages to the muscles.

Before walking, the child must:

  • Control the movements of his head (around 4 or 5 months);
  • To sit without support for short periods (around 6 to 8 months);
  • Be able to stand up and stand for a few seconds (around 9 to 11 months). Standing up unaided requires balance and muscle strength because the baby has to support the entire upper body.

It is also best if the child crawled and crawled before standing up. However, some babies skip these two essential steps in the development of their gross motor skills.

If this is the case with your child, let him practice walking as much as he wants. Once he needs to walk away, offer him some games in which he must crawl and walk around on all fours (eg a path in which he has to crawl under a chair and walk on all fours between two pieces of furniture).

It is important to keep in mind that the acquisition of skills can vary from child to child. The age shown here is an average. If you have any concerns, consult your child’s doctor.

Why do some babies walk later than others?

Several factors can affect when a baby starts to walk. In general, children learn one thing at a time. Some will thus focus more on the language or fine motor skills as walking. Others prefer to move only on the buttocks.

The temperament, weight, and size of the child could also affect the timing of first steps. Indeed, older children have a higher center of gravity and longer limbs, which would complicate a little coordination of their movements. Lack of strength and instability in the leg joints can also contribute to delaying the moment when he will walk.

If your child is not yet 19 months old, check with your doctor.

What can delay walking

  • The slower maturation of certain nerves and muscles necessary for walking.
  • Quick and easy movements on all fours, because the baby does not feel the need to find a more efficient mode of movement.
  • A learning disability or developmental delay.
  • Some physiological disorders, especially those affecting the muscles and tendons.

Learning to walk step by step

There is no point in forcing a baby to try to walk. He will walk when he is mentally and physically ready.

There is no point in forcing a baby to try to walk. He will walk when he is mentally and physically ready.

1. The baby clings to the furniture to stand up. Her buttocks point backward and her legs are arched. Most children have arched legs when they learn to walk. This is temporary and returns to normal in the following year. The baby is able to sit up while standing. He starts walking by keeping his trunk (upper body) leaning against a piece of furniture (around 9 months).

First steps: with or without shoes?

Walking barefoot allows the small muscles of the foot to work. This develops the child’s stability, balance, coordination and muscular strength. Walking barefoot also allows him to discover the sensation of the soil under his feet. It is therefore not necessary to wear shoes inside the house to a baby who is learning to walk. For information on baby shoes, check out What shoes to choose for baby?

2. He begins to walk sideways, still leaning on the furniture. He uses his hands to keep his balance and slide his feet on the floor one after the other. This way of doing things pushes him to make decisions, for example: where will he put his hand next to continue moving forward? He must also assess his size in relation to that of the objects around him. If he does not see anything to support himself, he will walk on all fours to keep going (around 10 to 11 months).

3. He lifts his foot instead of sliding it on the ground. For a few seconds, he manages to balance on one leg. He also manages to hold himself using one hand. His free hand allows him to grab his next hold. Take the opportunity to reach out to him and make him happy by walking at his side (to 11 to 12 months).

Do not hesitate to do activities with him to stimulate walking. Many children are able to take a few steps when held by one or two hands or when pushing a toy, with or without wheels. However, if the toy rolls too fast, the child may be afraid and prefer an object without wheels, such as a laundry basket turned upside down or a closed cardboard box. Warning! Walkers s were banned in Canada since 2004 because they have provoked ed many accidents.

4. He manages to stand without support. In this way, his two hands are free, which gives him several new possibilities. It can, for example, take the toys and the objects found on the coffee tables or on the lower shelves of the shelves. It is time to reassess security in your home. Some children manage to walk alone, others only need to hold one parent’s finger to walk (around 12 months).

When your baby is ready to walk alone, stand a few steps away from him to encourage him to walk towards you.

5. He walks alone, but his approach is not yet very assured. To ensure stability and balance, he walks with his legs wide apart and his arms extended like airplane wings. Then he begins to swing his arms slowly. Once launched, it sometimes has a hard time slowing down or stopping to avoid an obstacle. He can practice walking backward (around 14 months).

Thanks! Falls!

Learning to walk also means landing often on the buttocks. When your baby falls:

  • Do not dramatize. If he cries, stay calm and comfort him gently.
  • Encourage him to stand up and try to walk again.
  • Avoid “Attention! You are going to fall! Because too many warnings could hinder his learning or create unnecessary fears at home. Cover the corner of tables and protruding corners when your baby starts walking. You will be less afraid that he gets hurt when he falls. There are guards for covering corners and edges of furniture in hardware stores and baby stores.

6. He walks with confidence. His legs are a little less apart and he uses his arms less to keep his balance. His approach accelerates: he walks faster and trottin by taking quick and jerky steps to the limit of the race (around 18 months).

7. By the age of 2, all children are now excellent little walkers. They walk by first depositing the heel and then the toes, as adults.

If your child sometimes walks on tiptoe, there is no need to worry. By cons, if this approach persists more than ‘ one and that ‘ it often works that way, talk to his doctor.

Walking and Premature Babies

In the premature child, the stages of development are often overdue, because it is not his actual age that must be considered, but rather his corrected age. Corrected age is the age of the child if born on the expected date of birth.

Corrected age is used to assess the growth and development of a premature child as it takes into account the missing weeks of pregnancy. Corrected age is used until the child reaches 2 to 3 years of age. There is one exception: the vaccination schedule, which will follow the chronological age if the child’s health allows it.

To remember

  • Before you can walk, the baby must have some skills and his brain must be strong enough to send the right signals to the muscles.
  • Babies usually take their first steps between 10 and 18 months.
  • Many factors affect the age at which the first steps are taken, for example, the child’s temperament, preferences, height, weight and muscle strength.
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