Facts on when babies walk from top developmental expert Lisa Nalven, M.D.
Maybe it seems like every other kid in the playgroup is trying to walk or toddling, while your little guy is still down on all fours. What’s up with that? And furthermore, when will he get up? Relax with these reassuring words from a top developmental expert.
Fact: Babies don’t develop the same skills at the same rate. "There’s a wide range of normal with walking—anywhere from nine to 18 monthsis typical," says Lisa Nalven, M.D., director of developmental pediatrics at Kireker Center for Child Development in Ridgewood, New Jersey. "If your child is not making progress—pulling to stand, guiding himself along furniture, walking with hands held, briefly letting go—speak with your pediatrician."
Fact: Babies need good muscle tone to walk. "If kids don’t get enough tummy time, they don’t build the neck, trunk, and extremity muscles they need to crawl and walk," says Dr. Nalven. "It’s harder now for kids to get enough, with the recommendation for back sleeping. And babies who are in their car seats a lot or held all the time, rather than put on the floor, may have delayed walking." What she recommends: Place your child on the floor with something of interest (like a colorful toy) just out of his reach so he’s encouraged to crawl toward it. If your child is on the verge of walking, you might have him lean up against a sofa and lure him to take steps with a toy placed a few feet from where he’s standing.
Fact: Kids can be cautious. "Even though they have all the skills and are able to walk independently, sometimes children just won't let go of the physical supports, like furniture," says Dr. Nalven. Entice your tot to explore by holding his hands as he practices steps. Before you know it, he’ll let go and be off and walking on his own.
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