How you can help your toddler to walk
Watching your little one take their very first steps is one of life’s amazing moments. But when do babies start toddling?
Some start to walk as early as 10 months old, while others wait until 18 months or more. The fact is your toddler will walk in their own good time! It’s one of many big changes in a period of amazing development – so they’ll need your support to help their progress and confidence. And you can have plenty of fun and laughter as you help them on their way!
Making sure your home is safe
Your toddler’s legs are getting stronger and their sense of balance is developing, so bumps and tumbles are bound to happen! It’s all part of the learning process, but it’s a good idea to toddler-proof your home.
You might want to cover any hard edges such as chairs and table legs. Installing a stair gate can prevent any climbing mishaps. Keep power leads for lamps and other items out of reach of tiny fingers and make sure your furniture is stable and can’t be pulled over by eager little hands. Door stops are useful, too - they prevent your toddler from closing doors and trapping their fingers.
Understanding how toddlers learn to walk
Babies begin preparing for walking very early on. Spending time happily bouncing on your knee, or in the baby bouncer, helps develop the strength they need. A sure sign that they’re ready to toddle is when they can pull themselves up and stand, using a sofa or other object for support. Your toddler will probably find your legs useful for this too!
Here’s one way of helping them learn to pull up to a standing position:
Sit on our knees in front of your sofa or other stable object.
Sit your toddler on your knees for support, also facing the sofa.
Slowly kneel up, so that your toddler begins to feel their own weight on their legs – while your body supports them from behind.
Hold their hands out to encourage them to use the sofa for support.
Go back to your start position to show your toddler how to sit down again.
Helping your little one to toddle
It’s natural for toddlers to want to get up and go! Here are some simple ways to help them on their way:
- Stand or sit in front of them while holding out your hands – this encourages them to come to you.
- Hold both of your toddler’s hands at about shoulder height and walk them forward while supporting them.
- See if they enjoy using a ‘push toy’ to support them as they toddle.
- Allow them to go without footwear – it can help with their balance.
Fun and games that help with toddling
You can help make learning to walk more fun with simple games like:
Tempting toys. Place one of your toddler’s favourite toys on a chair or sofa to encourage them to stand up and reach for it.
Colours and sounds. Dangle colourful scarves in front of them or use a rattle or simple instrument to get their attention. They’ll soon reach out to investigate.
Blow bubbles. Toddlers are fascinated by bubbles and often try to follow them.
Hula-hoop games. Wriggle through a hula-hoop and see if your toddler wants to follow.
Feeding your toddler’s growing needs
With all the growing and developing they’re doing it’s no wonder that for their size, your toddler’s nutritional needs can be more than double your own!* So it’s really important to make sure they get a balanced diet – packed with energy, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to help with all that extraordinary growing and toddling!
To find out more, read our article on Healthy Eating For Toddlers.
If you’re worried about anything, please speak to your healthcare professional.
*Based on RNIs