How do you encourage your child to start walking?

Ellyn - posted on 04/10/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 13.5 months. She's never really crawled but gets around by pulling her back end around on the floor (she kind of crosses one leg so the heel of one foot is by the other knee and scoots around that way using her upper body to pull her along). She doesn't pull herself up to stand but can stand holding onto someone or something when you place her on her feet and she can walk along furniture but only will if there's something she wants to grab. She does get onto her feet and looks like she's doing downward dog (yoga position). She also "stands" on her knees. We're working on encouraging her to pull herself up and getting her to balance standing up on her own. At this point I don't care if she takes a step or not. However, when we stand her up and let go (seriously, my hands are inches from her waist) she freaks out. Same goes for those toys that they can hold onto and walk behind even when I'm the one controlling how fast it goes, which means snail pace, and Daddy is there to catch her if she starts to fall. Her doctor was concerned at her appt a couple weeks ago and said at her 15 month appointment we'd look at it again but that she should be able to do this by now. What else can I try?

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Amy - posted on 04/10/2011

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It sounds like your already trying alot but maybe try holding her hands and walking with her all over for a week or so. my son loved doing that before he could walk we turned it into a joke that he was taking daddy or mommy for a walk. Try walking with her inside and outside maybe put her favorite toy just out of reach to see if she goes for it. good luck

Jessica - posted on 04/20/2011

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Reading your post reminds me so much of my son. He started scooting around on his bottom around 10 months and never really did a traditional crawl. His doc was also concerned at his checkup and we waited until his 15 month to reevaluate. At 15 months, she recommended seeing a physical therapist even though there was nothing physically wrong with him. We decided to go ahead with PT and they gave us a bunch of exercises to start to strengthen his legs and upper body. Because he never did the traditional crawl, his muscles were weaker (he actually started to do a traditional crawl at 16 months, but still mainly scooted because it was easier). The exercises helped and he eventually walked at 19 months, but I don't know if the PT was the main reason for the success. I like to think some of it was determined by how much we encouraged and worked with him, but like other Moms have said, he really just did it when he was ready (he is very strong willed). To this day, there are still things he is behind on gross motor skill wise (he'll be 4 in July), but we just keep encouraging him. This may sound silly, but one thing that we found to work well when we were encouraging him to walk was a wooden spoon. If we worked with him by letting him hold our fingers while walking, he would have a strong grip on them and we couldn't get him to let go to try to walk on his own (it would turn into a meltdown). When we'd let him hold the handle of the spoon and then we'd be holding the spoon part, he could get going and then we could let go and he'd keep going, still having the sense of security of holding the spoon handle (a lot of it was psychological :-). The PT also gave us a piece of stretchy ribbon that worked to help him feel like he was holding something while we were holding the other side of it. It had enough give in it that he'd have to work to keep his balance, but still gave him the sense that he was being helped. Good luck - I know it's tough when they don't meet those milestones when you think they will!

[deleted account]

I would say just keep giving her plenty of opportunities and times to practice and build those muscles. Otherwise, the pediatrician will check her out at 15 months and if any physical therapy is necessary, they will refer you.

And for the record, my son walked (finally) at 18 months. he had no disability, nothing wrong. he just took his time. :)

also I know several children who do the butt scoot to get around rather than the traditional crawl. :)

Elizabeth - posted on 04/11/2011

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She will do it when she decides she is ready. Stop stressing..and just enjoy the fact that she doesn't get into EVERYTHING yet. Soon you will have a small cyclone resembling a child in your home.

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[deleted account]

We bought some foam mats from sams, they work great. The floor in his room is covered in them. He feel out of his crib onto them and wasn't hurt, the fall just scared the hell out of him

Jessica - posted on 04/20/2011

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It's hard being a first time parent! We were worried that we were being too overprotective with our son and that's what was causing him to be fearful and overcautious, but I really think it's just a part of his personality. He doesn't like to get dirty either and HATED walking on grass or anything with an uneven surface or different texture. I talked to our PT about tactile sensory disorder, but never really went to an occupational therapist to see if he might "have" it...very subjective diagnosis. The PT recommended introducing play-doh, sand or dry rice/beans into his play time to try to encourage different textures. On top of that, he's a very picky eater (another one of the tactile sensory issues), so there may be multiple things going on at the same time. Like one of the other Moms posted, maybe your daughter is working overtime on another skill...my son's fine motor skills and speech were awesome early on. Just have to continue to respond positively (even if you get frustrated) and encourage new behaviors, especially with the cautious kidos.

Ellyn - posted on 04/20/2011

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We do that too. Nine times out of ten when she falls over she doesn't make a peep and the last time she's usually cranky for another reason so it's just compounding. I'm not sure what kind of flooring you have but we have hardwood floors. I know she knows from experience that it can hurt when she falls on it (and she has bruises to prove it). We're contemplating getting a rug...maybe if she realizes it doesn't hurt so much to fall she'll get more courageous.

[deleted account]

Something we do is not let our boys see us react to them falling or getting hurt. Like when our two year old started to walk and he would fall we wouldn't jump up and see if he was hurt we would just say "uh oh" or "whoops" and it would make him smile. It he saw something as funny or cute he would always get back up and try again. If he did hurt himself we would get up and make sure he was ok and give him love if he needed it.

Ellyn - posted on 04/20/2011

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I think my issue right now is that my daughter is scared, as in screaming at the top of her lungs scared. In the past 10 days we've got her walking around furniture a lot more and going from piece to piece. However, she freaks out when you lift her hands from the object, even if it's to grasp her hands, and immediately lets her legs go limp so she falls to her butt. She also can't get down from a standing position, well other than falling to her butt but she won't even do that unless she has nothing to hang onto. I've tried transitioning to holding onto her waist but her limp noodle legs don't help much. When I hold onto her fingers, tho, she will walk, albeit shakily. She'll walk when I am only holding onto one hand too, progress I guess. I'm definitely going to try that spoon thing, tho.

Which brings me again to the fact that she can't (or won't) pull herself to a standing position for herself. With very little encouragement she'll do it. We fake her out by pretending to help lift her up but other than an initial nudge she's really doing it by herself. She pushes herself to a standing position just fine, tho, like with stairs. She does "downward dog" a bunch, and she now walks around on her knees, but usually only when she's pushing something around.

Being new parents, maybe my hubby and I are somehow showing her that the scared behavior is okay. I don't know. lol, it wasn't a concern to either of us until we went to her doctor appointment. I mean, I've read online that up until 18 months is typically okay and I was fine with that but now I feel like I'm running a race and need to get her up and walking before her 15 month appointment. She's just not a rough and tumble kind of kid [yet]. She also hates being dirty (which isn't helping having her self feed, lol).

Jessica - posted on 04/20/2011

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To add to my post above, I have a daughter who did the traditional crawl and didn't walk until 16 months, so maybe my kids are just prone to later walking :-)

Laura - posted on 04/20/2011

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Give her more time. Every child is so different and each has his/her won agenda as far as milestones go. Hang in there, she WILL walk! :)

Hope - posted on 04/19/2011

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My first child didn't walk until 18mos, second walked at 16mos, and third walked at 15mos. Nothing I tried would get them to walk earlier. Once they did start walking they didn't fall as much as children who "try" earlier. It's my opinion that they will walk when they are ready. I wouldn't be concerned until about 18 mos. and as long as she is cruising along furniture I'd leave well enough alone. Good luck.

[deleted account]

Try holding waist instead of her hands. I noticed with my son when I would hold his hands and walk with him then let go he would lose his balance but when I would hold his by his waist he would hold his balance better when I let go. Both my boys did the army crawl to get around and my 2 year old din't crawl for long before walking

Khadijah - posted on 04/13/2011

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I did the same thing as what Amy described. At about 8 months I would first help my girls (twins) strengthen their legs by just standing them on my lap. Then around 10-11 months I would stand them up and hold their hands, while walking with them. I kept that up for a while and one of my girls was walking on her own at 12 months and the other by 13 months. Each child is different and my girls doctor told me that sometimes when we are pushing for our little ones to master one thing their actually concentrating on mastering another. For instance...you may want him/her to walk but he/she may be more interested in learning how to talk or trying to distinguish between the different foods they are experiencing now.

Keep at it. One day she'll stand up and walk when you least expect her to.

Best of luck

Brianna - posted on 04/11/2011

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to get my daughter to start walking i would stand her again a chair so she was holding on to it the i would call her to me as i was sitting next to her i started by holding one of her hands guiding her to me (only taking like 2 steps to me) i would get really excited when she did this so it made her want to keep doing it. soon she was walking a few steps well to me on her own and then out of no where one day she started walking around the house like a pro lol

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