Monday, March 18, 2013

5 Ways To Help Your Child Learn To Walk


All of those crawlers out there are on their way to walking. Crawling is the foundation for walking as it works on several components necessary for walking, including alternating arm and leg movements, abdominal and gluteal muscle development, and increasing development of balance and weight shifting.

Most parents are excited to see their children walk. Experienced moms and dads know better than to wish that their child will walk early but there comes a point when you just want to let your child walk while you carry some other items, like groceries!

Ready or Not Here I Come

Recognize if you child is ready to walk. Here are three good questions to ask:

1) Are they beginning to stand freely from the floor without support?
2) Are they transferring between pieces of furniture?
3) Are they using a push toy to walk forward?

If the answer is yes to 2 or more, your child is well on his/her way to walking.

Reach for the Stairs

Have you child climb stairs either by crawling or with his/her hand held. The muscle strength needed to go up will increase the muscle strength necessary to assist with walking. If your child refuses, try getting a gutter or PVC tube from the local home center and lay it on the steps. They usually come in about 8-12 foot lengths which will cover 4-6 steps. These tubes become play tunnels. Place cars or balls at the bottom and have you child climb to the top to put them down the "slide."

Monkey in the Middle

Place puzzle pieces on one dining chair and the puzzle board on another. Set the chairs apart the distance of their arm span. Encourage them to transfer between surfaces to complete the puzzle. If that is not enticing, go back to the cars and gutter from the stair activity, placing the cars on one chair and the gutter on the other.

Hand in Hand

Have your child hold your hand while walking but lower your hand so that it is below your child's elbow height. If your child can walk with his hand in this position the next step is to allow your hand to move as she or he places weight on the hand. Just give a little when his or her hand moves so that they try to find their balance from within rather than from your hand. (Catch them if they start to fall, though!!)

Be Free

Let your child practice taking independent steps from one person to another. If you don't have someone to practice with, lean your child against a wall (if they are able to stand independently) and then move back no more than 3 feet. Allow your child to walk to you. If they choose to crawl, try putting a toy on your head so that walking will seem like a more efficient choice. HERE IS THE KEY: If they are able to get this far throw a party but DON'T MOVE FURTHER BACK!! Let them walk past you if they are ready but don't challenge them every time they achieve a goal. They will let you know when they are ready to move on.

These five tricks should be fun and exciting for your child. Make the experience positive and successful. If your child is not ready for any of the activities, wait a week or two and try it again. The average age to learn to walk is 12 months, but it is still considered within normal development if they walk by 18 months. If your child is not making progress toward walking (pulling to stand or cruising) by about 14 months, you should consult your pediatrician.

Michael works with Mommy Relief, a provider of [http://www.mommyrelief.com/]childcare for children of all ages in the DC Metro area.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?5-Ways-To-Help-Your-Child-Learn-To-Walk&id=7318739] 5 Ways To Help Your Child Learn To Walk

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