Baby walking around the house is a beautiful sight to a new parent. Every parent is proud of their kids achievements and the walking milestone is no exception. I am going to show you how I taught my little girl to take her first steps at 7 months, and to start walking before she was 12 months old. But I started preparing for the baby walking when she was just 3 months old.
A baby starts walking between 12 and 18 months.
Baby walking age is usually between 12 months and 18 months. If your kid happens to not walk till 18 months, do not worry, every kids achieves things at their own pace. In this guide, I am going to show you how to help your child take their first steps months before most kids their age do. I will cover the safety precautions you must take in your home, baby walking shoes, and baby walking toys you can use to accelerate your babies development.
The very first steps my daughter took were in her crib when she crossed her crib at 7 months old. The crib is the perfect place to get them started with walking as they are good at pulling themselves up using the sides of the crib. They can hold onto the top rail and practice moving around on their feet.
But before they can start pulling themselves up and walking around the crib, they have to develop the muscles in their legs and the motor skills.
Baby Walking Toys for motor skills
Baby walking toys help them develop those muscles and motor skills. I started with two baby walking toys, but you have to be careful with the first toy.
Providing a safe environment is the first step.
A baby walker is the first toy I used to help my daughter build muscles and motor skills in her legs. Walkers are usually rated for 6 months of age, but I started my daughter in one at 3 months of age.
If you decide to do this, you have to first make the area she will use it in safe. I go into detail about how to make your home safe for a baby in this post. Many of these same tips are needed in order to use a baby walker at a young age. Here is a quick summary of the safety items you need:
1. All table edges must be protected with foam guard. It is generally secured to the table with double sided tape. You can buy this kit from Amazon, it is the one I used.
2. All stairs must be protected with gates so your child does not fall down the stairs in a walker. If you need a suggestion for a durable gate, see this post.
3. All vases and other items on top of low tables must be removed so they do not fall.
4. You must establish some boundaries with child fencing or other means to prevent them from bumping into walls or other objects when they first start in the walker.
When they first start moving in a walker, they push back, so they move backwards. The first thing that gets bumped into when they are moving backwards is the babies head. This is why you must monitor them at all times if you plan to use a walker to help them develop the muscles and motor skills needed to walk.
You should also use a pair of anti-slip socks that have some of the rubber treading on the bottom so they can have traction when they are pushing. If you use regular socks, they will not be able to move as their feet will slip on the floor, and it may discourage your child from walking. Another option is to use a pair of baby walking shoes that are easy to put on and fit smaller feet such as this one. If you need a recommendation for a walker, I recommend this one by Combi because it has the added benefit of being super cute for taking pictures with your baby.
Baby walking toys for muscle development
The second toy I recommend using for baby walking is a bouncer toy. This toy is generally much safer at a young age than a walker is. This toy allows them to bounce, and it strengthens their leg muscles. The bouncers also have other engaging toys that help your child develop other skills, so its a win-win situation. These bouncers can get dirty if you let you child eat food in them, but they are really easy to clean. Only some bouncers have an additional base to help the child bounce such as this one. And only some bouncers allow you to adjust the height for different ages such as the one by Evenflo. This is ideal as you want to start your child in the bouncer as soon as they can fit into the lower setting. The bouncer will help develop the specific muscles needed to help your child pull themselves up.
Practice walking with the crib
After you have developed their muscles and motor skills for a few months with the baby walker and bouncer, you are ready for the crib walking activity. Its best to perform the safety on the crib as soon as you observe your child pulling themselves up in the crib.
I anticipated the potential for head and face injury on the top of the crib rail. To prevent your baby from falling and hitting their head on the top rail of the crib, you have to do three things:
1. Ensure that there is no loose bedding, toys, or blankets in the crib when they are practicing taking their steps. Loose bedding, toys, and blankets can cause the baby to trip when they try to take steps.
2. Ensure that you have some form of mesh netting on the sides of the crib where the mattress touches the sides of the crib. This mesh netting prevents suffocation when they are infants, but when they are older, it prevents their legs and arms from getting caught in the crib if they fall. I have heard horror stories of kids getting their legs stuck in between the sides of a crib, so please consider mesh netting.
3. Add some padding to the top rail of the crib so that if your baby walks but falls, they do not hid their head on the hard railing. What I did was add non-toxic foam rubber pipe cover to the top of the crib rails. You can buy some of this at your local hardware store or big box home store.
This pipe cover is normally placed around copper pipes to help conserve energy. You want to get the largest diameter possible as the railings on cribs tend to be much larger than copper pipes. You can secure these pipe insulation with plastic zip ties. Remember to when you tighten the zip ties to have the dangling part underneath the outer edge. You can cut off the excess, or just leave the dangling plastic. Just make sure to tighten it super tight as your child will try to move the pipe cover. If you tighten it down as tight as possible, they will not be able to move the foam. You want the foam to stay in place so that they cannot expose the hard surface by moving it.
Baby’s first steps activity
The final activity I used when my daughter first started walking was a set of foam interlocking pads such as this one. People say carpet is safe, but I still prefer the pads as they can absorb more energy and protect your baby better from a fall. They are also great for using when your baby is very young and learning to roll over. Your baby will tend to flop when they are rolling over, and there is a high chance that they will bump their head. The foam will absorb and protect the impact so they are not injured. The foam mats are easy to clean, and they will not irritate the babies skin like a carpet might.
After your baby has gained some confidence in walking around the crib, put them on the mat, and lead them a few steps. After they show a willingness to attempt walking, try to let them walk a few steps, but be ready to catch them. Having you there initially helps them, but later on you will want to let them try to walk by themselves. This builds their confidence. Those are the methods I used to teach my child to walk early. I hope you find them helpful, and I hope you have the same success as I did.