Oh, the joy of watching your adorable baby crawl across the kitchen floor! Many parents get excited at the prospect of their babies entering this important developmental milestone. But sometimes eagerness is met with worry when children don’t seem to want to walk or crawl “on time.”
What exactly does on time mean? Don’t panic if your 6 month old isn’t crawling yet or your 12 month old refuses to walk. Generally, children pass these milestones with flying colors. Here’s what to watch for.
Crawling Commandos: (average 6-10 months)
Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Usually babies begin to really take-off when they learn to crawl. But, some babies prefer to “scoot” instead and still others, skip the crawling stage all together. So go with what your baby prefers and work with it.
- Baby Proof Her World. Once your daughter’s mobile, she will get into anything she can. Start by getting down on her level to see things from her point of view. Identify safety hazards and pull out the baby-proofing technology (plug protectors, safety gates for stairs, etc).
- Rock Out Together. Place some blankets down and crank up the music. Dance with her and crawl around on all fours. If she’s a little scooter, scoot along the floor with her. She’ll giggle with delight that you are hanging out “on her level.” It will also encourage her to move around with you which will help strengthen her muscle coordination.
Cruise Control: (7-13 months)
Learning to Let Go! Once babies have conquered the fine art of crawling or scooting it’s time to let go! Around this time, babies may begin to cruise along furniture by stepping sideways while holding onto the table. Eventually she will push away and take her first steps without assistance.
- Encourage cruising. Let her cruise along furniture (sofas are great for this because they are soft) as often as she likes. It will take her lots of practice before she feels comfortable pushing away, so the more practice, the better.
- Take her hand. Grab both of your child’s hands and practice walking with her. This is a great way to encourage bonding while also helping her learn to shift the weight from one foot to another. Walk her around the room and give her lots of positive praise.
Wild Walkers: (9-15 months)
Ditching the Coffee Table! At some point, your little cruiser will take her first shot at independence. She will push away from the table and go out on her own.
- Barefoot and Cushy. When children are learning to walk, it’s always best to go barefoot. It’s easier for her than wearing shoes. Make sure she is practicing on a comfortable surface like a carpet. There will be less drama when she falls (and she WILL fall). The beach is also another great place to practice.
- Hide and Seek. Play hide and seek with your new walker. Encourage her to come get you by walking. You can also hold her favorite toy out and offer it to her if she walks to you.