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Is my Baby Ready to Walk?
Learning to walk requires a delicate balance of coordination, posture and physical strength. In addition, baby must be able to transfer his or her weight from side to side and forward. Signs that a baby may be ready to walk are, baby can independently sit up and can pull him or herself up independently. Actually, the first stage of a baby walking is to pull him or herself up while holding on to a stationary object for support. To assist a baby to learn to pull him or herself up, "sit" on your knees on the floor and place the baby on your knees. Slowly rise up to the kneeling position and help the baby to push up to feel the weight on his/her legs. You will be directly behind the baby for balance. This works great in front of an ottoman or a couch, so the baby learns to grab the ottoman or couch to pull himself up.
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Encourage a Baby to Walk with these Activities
Here are some fun activities to help an infant learn to walk. Remember, learning to walk is mostly a natural process, but here are some ways to encourage a baby in his or her new-found adventure. Use these every day household items to encourage walking:
- Line up chairs side-by-side against the wall. Be sure the chairs are placed firmly against one another and firmly against the wall. Place a toy on the top of the last chair. Encourage the baby to hold onto the chairs to reach the toy. Scarves- gently wave a scarf at the end of the last chair. Baby will love the colors and will try to reach for the scarf.
- When baby can stand, play Ring around the Rosie. (Ring around the Rosie, A pocket full of Posie, Ashes, Ashes, We all fall down). Holding onto the baby's hands, walk slowly around in a circle. After a few times, fall down together.
- Blowing bubbles- sit on the floor (cover the floor with newspaper) or go outside and gently blow bubbles for your little one to follow.
- Hula Hoop- hold a hula hoop and guide the baby to step through it (for infants just starting, they may want to crawl through the hula hoop which is OK too).
- Hold baby's hands and show him or her how to gently bend the knees to bounce up and down.
- Play parade- When baby is able to stand, begin to show him or her different movements, like a wiggle. Take an object that makes noise, like a musical instrument, or toy and hold it just out of the baby's reach. Show her how to wiggle to the sound. This will help to strengthen her legs and teach balance. In the beginning, be sure to do this near a chair or ottoman so baby can hold on if she loses her balance.
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Last Words About Teaching Baby to Walk...
Although you may be anticipating those first steps, at no time should a child be forced to walk. He or she will let you know when it is time. The infant may have some physical limitations, such as Down Syndrome or prematurity, so remember the baby will develop at his or her own pace. Simply bouncing a baby on your lap, or laying the baby on his back and allowing him to push his legs against your hands can help with balance, coordination and strengthening his legs.
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