When should my child take those much-anticipated first steps?


Your child's first steps are a time of great anticipation and excitement, but you might also wonder if he or she is taking too long to reach this important milestone.

»RELATED: Look who's talking: When should your baby start talking? 

Here's what you need to know about when your child should be taking his or her first steps:

When do most children start walking?

Most babies start to take their first steps when they're between 9-12 months old, and most are walking well at around the 14- to 15-month mark, according to BabyCenter. The important part to remember is "most," since like many other things, each child can reach this milestone at his or her own pace. Some babies develop perfectly normally and yet don't walk until they're 16 or 17 months old.

When should you be concerned?

Some kids simply walk earlier than others, but as relatives keep asking, "Is she walking yet?" you might be getting anxious. You should pay attention to your child's "quality" of movement instead of only considering how old they are when they start walking, a professor of pediatrics told Today's Parent. So a 15-month-old who actively crawls but hasn't started to walk yet is probably fine, but another child who moves in a stiff or floppy way warrants a visit to the pediatrician.

You should also adjust your expectations if your child was born prematurely and adjust their age to take this into account. That means if your 13-month-old was born eight weeks prematurely, he may be hitting expected milestones about two months later than his age would indicate.

You should also observe your child for signs of the following, Lisa Rivard, a pediatric physiotherapist, told Today's Parent: having equal use of both sides of the body, getting in and out of a sitting position unassisted, crawling on the hands and knees (as opposed to scooting around on his bottom), starting to pull himself up to stand or walk while holding onto furniture (cruising) and taking weight on both legs with flat feet while you're supporting her torso.

These actions are all signs that your child has a good foundation for walking and that there's probably not an issue. But if you have any concerns, talk to your child's pediatrician.

How can you encourage your child to walk?

As long as your child seems ready to walk and you've ruled out any issues, the following tips from Parents.com and NewKidsCenter.com can help you encourage your child to take those first steps. Keep in mind, though, that each child is different, and your child may just decide to walk when he or she is ready.

Carry your child less often – Some parents get into the habit of carrying their child a good bit, which cuts down on their opportunities to walk.

Encourage play at different positions and levels – Set up cushions for your child to scramble over or kneel down on the ground to play and encourage him to do the same. This helps them learn how to shift their weight and also develop strength, balance and coordination.

Put your child down in a standing-up position – As long as your child has a safe place to "land," try to put him down into a standing position rather than sitting him down after you've been holding him.

Ditch the socks and shoes – As long as you're on a safe surface at home, try letting your child walk barefooted. Bare feet can grip surfaces more easily than socks or shoes and won't slip like some socks can.

Try push or pull toys – These can make it easier for your child to pull himself up while providing some help with balance. Don't use a walker, though – the American Academy of Pediatrics says they're unhelpful and also dangerous.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community

Lennon, McCartney back together? Well sort of
Lennon, McCartney back together? Well sort of

Lennon and McCartney have teamed up again. But it wasn’t some long-lost recording of John Lennon fronted by Paul McCartney years later.  It was actually the sons of the two music legends. Sean Ono Lennon and James McCartney recently spent time together and took a selfie that could, at a quick glance, be taken for an image of their two fathers...
Here’s how to make sure your pooch is ready for the new baby 
Here’s how to make sure your pooch is ready for the new baby 

Your dog is a member of the family, right? So when that family expands to include a new little human member, your pup is one of the many "loved ones" you'll need to prepare for the arrival of a baby. Expectant parents can take heart from the multitudes of social media compilations featuring gentle dogs playing with their angelic baby...
’No Erasin’: Steve Perry releases first new song in 20 years, album to be released in October
’No Erasin’: Steve Perry releases first new song in 20 years, album to be released in October

Steve Perry fans have waited decades for new material from the former Journey lead singer. They’ve finally gotten their wish as he released the video for “No Erasin” on YouTube late Tuesday night. The song begins with the lyric, “I know it’s been a long time coming.” >> Read more trending news ...
5 things every parent should know about immunization
5 things every parent should know about immunization

Within the first few months of your child's life, your pediatrician will likely start talking to you about immunizations. Even if your house is stocked with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap, it's important to know what options are out there to keep your kid safe from diseases that could have harmful consequences. TheWorld Health Organization defines...
Viva Las Aerosmith! Steven Tyler announces band’s Vegas residency
Viva Las Aerosmith! Steven Tyler announces band’s Vegas residency

Aerosmith is setting up shop in Sin City. Steven Tyler and the rest of the legendary band announced that they’re setting up residency on the Las Vegas Strip next year. Shows begin at the Park Theater at Park MGM on April 6, 2019, Variety reported. Sales for “Deuces Are Wild” concerts will open to the Aerosmith fan club ...
More Stories