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How to Help a Baby Learn to Walk

By Sarah Harding ; Updated June 13, 2017

There are several factors that affect the age at which a baby walks on her own. Specifically, Dr. Spock suggests genetics play the largest role and then ambition, weight, ability to reach desired locations via other means, illnesses or negative experiences. Walking usually begins between 12 and 15 months of age, but it is possible to begin at 9 months or to wait as late as 18 months or more. Parents can take some steps to encourage their child to walk, but in time, an infant will walk when the time is right for her.

Assist your baby in tummy time, sitting and standing with assistance. If your child does not seem receptive to standing, then do not force it. A strong back is developed through tummy time and sitting upright.

Place toys just outside of your baby's reach. This is helpful in both the sitting or standing position. Sitting and reaching or attempting to crawl toward a desired object will further develop your child's muscles.

Provide your child a toy or stable object that she can use to pull herself up. Once your baby begins standing alone or with minimal assistance, she will gain confidence in her ability to move. Try push or pull toys when your child is still sitting or crawling. An example of a push toy is an infant grocery cart that encourages your child to stand up or push the cart along. A pull toy usually has a string that a baby can pull around. These toys often have noise makers, colorful parts or music that are activated when they are moved, rewarding your baby for using them.

Hold your child's hands and walk her around. Only do this as much or as often as your baby wants. One sign your baby is not ready to walk is her disinterest in walking with you.

Praise and encourage your child whenever she makes an attempt to walk or stand. Call her name and tell her to come to you. Providing an enticing reward for coming to you may be just the boost she needs.

Tips

Make your house safe for walking well before your baby starts crawling. One bad accident while trying to stand or walk can ruin things for your child for a while due to fear.

Keep your baby barefooted as much as possible to encourage proper foot development and to help her grip walking surfaces.

Warnings

Avoid using baby walkers. There are many safety concerns as well as developmental concerns associated with these hazardous toys.

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