Since day one your little bundle has been reaching every baby milestone right on time—and even earlier. It sure felt great when he started sitting up unassisted at 5 months old! He started crawling at six months and you knew for sure he was going to be an early walker.
When he was eight months old you started holding his hands and letting him cruise with your assistance. He giggled and enjoyed this new exercise. As he reached ten months of age, this became his fave activity. He would raise his arms and grin for you to pick him up and get him started on his walking routine.
You keep telling your mom, “I know he’s going to walk any day now!”
But time has passed, and now you are putting away the left-over birthday cake. You are reorganizing your bambino’s room for all his new toys and clothes. Yep. He’s one year old today and still hasn’t taken his first step unassisted. He really seems to enjoy walking around with some help, but cries and falls down when you try to get him to walk on his own.
Several concerns begin to flood your thoughts as you clean the party-littered house.
My child will not be athletic.
Late-walkers, early walkers, and right-on-time walkers are all at the same advantage concerning athletic abilities. Whether or not your child walks at 9 months, 12 months, or 15 months does not effect whether he will excel at running, basketball or soccer when he grows older. Athletic ability is typically developed through exercise, healthy habits and lots of practice. Don’t worry your little one has lots of time to condition for all the sports events later on in life.
My child has an undiagnosed developmental problem.
Toddlers that walk at 15 months are not, statistically, at an increased risk for undiagnosed health issues. Has your child met the majority of the other milestones? Is he growing at a good speed? Is his speech improving? Does he communicate well? How does he interact with others?
If your child is delayed in the majority of milestones, then it is wise to consult your pediatrician for an underlying cause. However, if walking is the only milestone he has not reached “on time” then there is no need to become overly worried. Just wait it out.
I’m a horrible mother!
Do you see that smile on your child’s face when you walk into the room? Do you hear his giggles of laughter throughout the day? Do people constantly comment on how happy, sweet and adorable your bambino is? You are doing a great job! Your baby is happy—and that is what matters most!
My child is lazy.
You fast-forward in your mind to your tiny one’s future, and what do you see? A person sacked out on the couch with potato chips in a dirty t-shirt.
“NO”, you think. “I don’t want a lazy child! I want my child to work hard, be diligent, and to do his best at everything he does!”
Just because he has not taken his first few steps does not mean he is lazy. Perhaps he enjoys exploring things from a “lower” point of view, and decides that he can accomplish the walking task later. A procrastinator? Maybe. Lazy? Most likely not. There is still time to train him to do his best!
OK. So Maybe my one year old is normal, but I still want him to walk—now! How can I help him to achieve this goal?
A little help may go a long way, so try these things to facilitate the process of walking.
- Praise, praise, praise! When your child lets go of the table and stands for a few seconds, cheer him on! When he takes one tiny step—and then falls, squeal, applaud and spin him around the room showinghim your delight in his victory. Little ones enjoy praise and will be more encouraged to accomplish “tasks” when praised and rewarded.
- Get supplies. Purchase a toy he can stand up and push to encourage him to walk. You can also just give him a light-weight chair to push around the room when you are at home.
- Throw it out! Don’t use walkers, exersaucers, or Johnny Jump ups. These will only keep your little one dependent on things to keep them mobile. The Johnny jump up makes it too easy to bend their legs and sit down.
- Keep smiling and don’t worry. Your little one will take a few steps any day now. Remember, babies are not considered late walkers until 15-18 months of age. Just keep a camera handy to catch that first step!
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