One of the most important moments in a parent's life is when your child takes their first steps! It's a magical feeling, and one of the first signs that your baby is really starting to grow into a little tot.
But at the same time, a child's first steps can breed a lot of anxiety in parents. When do babies start walking? Should my child be walking by now? If you're nervous about your baby's first steps, have no fear! We're here to tell you everything you need to know about first steps.
When do babies start walking?
This is a tricky question, and there's no simple answer, other than it really depends on the individual child. Most children start walking between nine and eighteen months of age, but there are always outliers, so don't panic if your child doesn't fit this timeline!
The timing of your child's first steps is directly tied to their ability to stand up. If they're pushing themselves up to a standing position or starting to cruise around your house, you can be pretty sure that the first steps are on their way!
How do you know when your baby will start walking?
There are many signs and signals along the way that can help a parent recognize when a baby's first steps are coming. Now that we're home more often than usual, you'll likely see more of them than you normally would. Here are some of the important milestones your child will meet on the way to walking!
Crawling (7 Months)
Like we said above, crawling is often one of the first steps on the way to walking. Once a baby has head control down pat, they'll learn how to roll over and sit up.
When babies learn to sit up, they usually use their hands to support themselves. Then, it's a logical step from there to crawling forward on their hands and knees!
Pulling themselves up (9-12 Months)
If your baby has been pulling themselves up into a standing position using a table or couch for support, you're well on your way to your baby's first steps! In fact, you should be just over four months out from your baby walking on their own.
Chances are that your child won't be able to stay standing for very long, but that's normal and healthy at first! Over time, their body will get stronger and they will start standing for longer and longer periods.
Cruising (9 to 12 Months)
Cruising is like walking with training wheels, and will start between 9-12 months of age. Your child might start to take some hesitant first steps while holding onto a piece of furniture (or even a parent!)
Cruising is a good sign that walking is just around the corner for your child! If they're holding on to furniture to support them while they get around, it's important to make sure you've baby-proofed any wobbly or top-heavy furniture to avoid a collision or injury.
Do all babies crawl before walking?
Despite the popular saying "learn to crawl before you walk," this is not always the case! Some babies don't crawl at all on their way to walking. That said, crawling is a good sign that your baby's first steps are on the way.
How can parenting affect your baby's first steps?
So what can you, a parent, do to help your child learn to walk? Are there things you should be avoiding?
Like most parenting questions, there's no easy one-size-fits-all answer. That said, there are a few things you can do to make sure your baby starts walking just when they're supposed to.
Tummy time has tons of benefits, but most of all, it's great for your baby's abdominal muscles. These are the same abdominal muscles that will help them crawl, stand, cruise, and eventually walk, so developing them early is a great way to ensure your baby is ready to start walking when it is developmentally appropriate!
Just as your child changes over time, so should your baby-proofing! If you know your child is starting to get up and get around, it's time to start thinking about baby-proofing parts of your home that weren't already prepped for a young walker.
For example, make sure any unstable furniture is secured down and that your cabinet doors can't be opened by a curious youngster's little hands. It's better to have this done too early than too late, so make sure your house is just as ready as you are for your little one to start walking!
Limit swaddling time
This tip may seem simple, but it's so simple that many parents don't even think to check for it! If you are constantly swadding your baby or restricting them in some way (like holding them constantly, for example), they may not get a chance to learn how to get around on their own. In fact, they may not feel like they need to if Mommy is taking them everywhere they want to go!
As difficult as it is, giving your child the space to grow is just as important as the bonding time you spend with them. Make sure you have a good balance between space and cuddling to ensure that your baby starts walking right when they're supposed to.
Developmental Milestones: First Steps
Now that you know the answer to the question "When do babies start walking?", you can be prepared for each step of your child's journey towards their first steps! Get your little ones moving even more in enriching classes for toddlers.