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There’s a faster way to teach your baby how to walk without a baby walker. And I will be sharing this with you based on our actual experience with our baby.
Baby walker is something we opt not to introduce inside our house for our baby. I told my mom that it is not good for my baby. My mom insisted and asked me how can baby walker delay motor and development of a child. Then I began explaining to her our reasons why we don’t want it.
To be honest, I initiated the topic of getting a baby walker for our son with my wife. But she immediately hesitated. For my wife, she thinks we can’t and we shouldn’t get a baby walker. Her argument is actually valid. We have a couple of low-level tables, low wall power sockets, cornerstones, stairs, and many more low-lying stuffs. In short, cluttered stuffs are lying around which isn’t safe for the baby. And we can’t just move stuffs, like our television set or wall power sockets.
So, it’s decided then. End of the story. No need to get a baby walker.
Our son was 6-months-old then and I can see him making a couple of attempts to stand-up on his own. For me it was a sign that he will soon try to walk. And we’re not ready for him, yet! So, what is the way to teach your baby how to walk without a baby walker? Here are the few steps we did to encourage and train our son to walk on his own.
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to discourage nor ask any parents not to use a baby walker for their babies. We are just merely sharing our actual experience. Furthermore, we are not insinuating that baby walkers is not advisable. Training your baby will still be entirely up to you.
Early Preparations For Your Baby
1. Secure a training area for your baby
It is very important that you decide where is the best place in your house you can put your baby to let him walk. Make sure that the area is safe. And when we say safe, we mean “baby safe“. Make sure that there’s nothing in the area that can hurt him. All hard and sharp objects should be unreachable for your baby.
Also, it is advisable if you will use a cushion mat for baby. The mat should be thick enough and not too soft. This is to make sure that your baby won’t get hurt whenever he falls.
2. Use An Ergonomic Baby Fence Or Baby Crib
I’m sure, it’s very hard for a parent to let their baby away from your side – especially for most Filipino mothers. That is why, it’s common to see babies sleeping on the middle – between mom and dad. We’ve been there before. But during the day, we opt not to leave our son alone in the bed. We don’t feel safe for our baby. That’s why we started putting him inside the baby crib when he was 2-months-old.
3. Baby Plush and Teething toys
Also, start training your baby to play with toys – and not with his baby feeding bottles. 🙂 Get him some baby plush and teething toys. These will keep him busy while he is in the crib or fence.
It was shown in studies that there’s a positive effect on a child’s development having soft toys around. Your baby is in the learning stage and loves to explore new things and textures. Also, your baby starts to recognize colors and sizes at an early stage. And getting him soft toys will help him develop his sensory skills, social and emotional growth.
But you have to make sure that the toys you’ll give are safe and suitable for babies – 12 months and below. Especially at this early stage, your baby loves to explore with his mouth. Your baby would literally put everything on his mouth. Especially when his gums starts to itch as soon his teeth starts to come out. Once this happens, get him some teething toys too.
Baby Exercises and Signs To Teach Your Baby How To Walk
According to studies, babies starts to gain confidence to sit until he can walk from age 4- 15 months. So you have to be very observant and guide your child very well during these developmental months.
Here are some early signs and exercises you can do with your baby to help them gain confidence in walking on their own.
Some other parents would say that when your child starts to sit, that’s the first sign. For us, it’s not. It’s when the baby can start to roll on his own. It means that his motor skills are starting to develop more. There will be times that babies, to get something they see, they’ll roll. Try to call his name from a short distance or from the edge of the bed and let him come. Sometimes, as early as 2-4 months old there are babies who can do roll overs.
Some babies will start sitting on their own at their 4th month, while others before they reach their 7th month old. This is the best time where a crib or fence with firm but soft mat flooring can be used. You can play with your baby with a toy. Just wiggle the toy from left to right, or up and down. Make sure it is a little bit out of his reach. Entice your baby to reach for it. This is a good exercise for the baby so that he’ll be encourage not only to sit.
Also, it will do help if you held your baby on his arm pits and do a baby bounce on your lap. This will make his legs muscles stronger and practice bending his knees.
Whether your baby can crawl on his hands and knees, belly crawl or scoot, it is important that you help him develop his arms and legs. Let him crawl from one side of the room to the other. You can also use his favorite toy. Hold it and lure your baby to follow you. Once he reaches you, reward him. It is important to praise him every time. Show and make him feel that he is doing a good job.
By the way, according to studies babies starts to crawl at the age between 7 – 10 months. If he starts earlier, well and good.
4. Help Your Baby To Stand
Do not rush your baby to stand. Not all babies develops their motor skills at the same time. But it will help to boost their bones and muscles with some small movements. If your baby can sit and crawl, try now to hold him on his body, just under his arm pits then encourage him to stand. Let him bounce and try to follow him if he wants to move in an upward position.
There are babies who’re afraid or not yet confident moving. For them, they are moving away from their comfort zone. So do not rush, as I’ve said earlier. You can do it slowly.
Sometimes, it will also help if you can let your baby watch some educational nursery rhymes YouTube Channels while he is on his play fence. As soon he gets interested with the video, he’ll try to stand-up to watch closer.
5. Pulling up
Once your baby starts to grasp your finger, you can slowly pull him up to a standing position. This is to help them get used to their weight and stand – the right way. Then just do a follow through support once your baby tries to walk around.
This is another good exercise for them to make their leg muscles stronger. And it will help to straighten out their legs and prevent them from bowing later.
There will be times too that you’ll be surprised that your baby is pulling your dress or legs to stand – grasping anything to support him to stand.
Sooner than you know it, your baby will now start to stand on their own but wont’ be able to walk independently yet. Cruising is referred to as when your baby starts to make use of walls, furniture, fences, to help them walk.
This is definitely good! However, make sure that your home is baby proof! Make sure that all small objects are far from their reach. Also, duct tape all wall power outlets if necessary. But if you have a good and spacious baby fence – this is better.
Our Two-cents As A Parent
Patience is a virtue! Always bear that in mind. Do not rush your baby to walk. Also, do not (ever!) compare your baby with others. Do not be alarmed nor stressed if your baby does not walk at a certain age when you expect it. The development of a child is not the same for all. Take into consideration also that your baby’s first few steps may vary on their personality, mental, and weight. All of these guidelines, tips and studies are not set in stone. They are mere approximation.
Nevertheless, your baby won’t be able to stand on their own immediately. They need their support from their parents. And it is our responsibility to give them that loving, caring and guidance.
It will also help if you always consult with your pediatrician. Especially if your baby falls excessively or if you feel that your baby’s legs are stiff. Also if your baby keeps on stumbling on one side. There might be something wrong and would need medical attention.
How about your baby? How early did your baby started to walk?