Milestones, Baby Steps

Walking is one major milestone in a child's life, but when exactly should your baby be walking? Jessica Hartshorn, Senior Lifestyles Editor of American Baby Magazine, has some advice.

Around four months of age, your child should be kicking. Between 6-9 months, a child should be rolling around and then trying to push themselves up by their first birthday. "What you really want to look for is that the baby will move from point A to point B by the first birthday," says Hartshorn.

One important thing to keep in mind is that babies may not begin to walk on their own until about 15 months of age. But as a parent, you may want to help jump-start the process, and there are exercises that can help your child develop along.

Put them on their stomach for a portion of the day. "It builds all the muscles they need for pushing up, for walking," says Hartshorn. Also, try putting their toy just out of their reach so they can try to grab it on their own. Also, give them something to grab onto, like a table or the couch. The added stability will encourage them to pull themselves up and then balance on their own.

A fun addition after a child's first birthday are toys with wheels. "A wagon that they can pull or push can give them something steady to hold onto, but it's also fun, so it can motivate them to learn to walk" says Hartshorn.

Another fun part of walking is picking out shoes for your baby! Infants don't really need shoes; "[They should] stay in socks. It's just to keep their feet warm," says Hartshorn. But when your baby begins to walk, it's best to look for soft-soled shoes. "Babies need to feel the ground beneath them to learn to walk," says Hartshorn. Once your baby is up and running around, though, you should switch to hard-soled shoes.

For more information on baby milestones, as well as other parenting information, click here.
By Erin Petrun