When Can Babies Walk?

Your little bundle of joy is now 9 months old and the questions have already started coming up, “when do babies walk?”. Walking is a major concern for many young parents since they often associate walking with intelligence. This is a common misconception. The fact that your baby walked at 9 months doesn’t mean they’re smarter than one who walked at 12. Walking is actually related to the baby’s opportunity and temperament, and not intelligence.

When Should Your Baby Start Walking?

Generally, babies start taking their first steps around the 9th to 12th month. By the 14th or 15th month, they are walking normally. Your child could take a little longer and it’s perfectly normal. There are many children who start walking at around the 16th or 17th month. The first year is spent developing the baby’s muscle strength and coordination skills. They should be able to crawl, roll over and sit before they move on to pulling and standing at the age of 9 months.

If your baby is late, then you need not worry. As mentioned above, this is determined by the baby’s temperament. Babies with a laid-back temperament will tend to develop their motor skills much slower than those with impulsive motor-driven temperaments. Impulsive babies tend to walk much sooner but there is not inherent advantage to this since they are more prone to accidents than their mellow counterparts.

Baby Walking Stages and How You Can Help

Stage 1: Sitting

The moment your baby starts sitting down without any help, then she is at the first stage of gaining mobility. Sitting helps them develop the muscle strength they need to stand and eventually start walking.

You can expect your baby to start sitting at the age of 4 to 7 months. To help them along, get them to roll a ball back and forth every once in a while, or play stacking games with them. This will help develop their little muscles.

Stage 2: Crawling

When do babies walk? Well, most babies have to crawl first. One of the most important milestones during the crawling stage is for the baby to learn how to move their legs and arms at the same time. These skills will be invaluable when they learn to walk.

Your baby should start crawling at the age of 7 to 10 months. To help, encourage him to crawl from one end of the room to the other. Praise him for the achievement.

Step 3: Pulling Up

At the 8-month mark, your baby is now stronger and very curious. He will start pulling himself up using furniture, dad or mum as a prop. This is the best time to start working on getting him to stand up and balance on their own.

You can help by showing him how to get back down on the floor by bending their knees.

Stage 4: Walking with Help

Between the 8th and 9th month, your baby should start taking a few steps while holding your hands. Doing this consistently will usher him into the next phase and give him the confidence to walk on his own.

At this stage, you can help him progress through practice. The more he gets used to standing and being on his feet alone, the more confident he will feel to walk on his own.

Stage 5: Cruising

The cruising stage is when the baby starts walking using furniture and walls as support. At this point, the baby is mobile so you should make sure the home is completely safe and baby-proofed.

This is usually at the 8th and 9th month.

Stage 6: Standing Without Help

At between the 9th and 12th month, your baby should have started to develop their balance. Now that they can already stand by themselves and move, they just need a bit of encouragement.  Turn balancing into a sort of game you play with them

Stage 7: First Steps

Your baby should make their first steps between the 9th and 12th month. They will need plenty of encouragement from mom and dad to get the confidence to do it.

Cheer your baby as they take their first steps. Sit on the floor and guide them. Slowly let them start taking their first steps.

Stage 8: Walking

When do babies walk? Before your baby learns to walk, they’ll go through a period of stumbles and missteps. To keep them motivated, keep praising them and keep in mind the fact that some babies will default to crawling sometimes since its what they are comfortable with. They will, however, get more confident with time. They should start walking between the ages of 12 and 15 months.

Tips to Encourage Your Baby to Walk

  1. Encourage Floor Time

Ensure your child gets lots of floor time to enable them to use their bodies to explore their surroundings. Confining them to bumbo seats, jumpers or car seats will just delay their motor skills since they have to depend on ‘containers’ for support and posture. Their muscles don’t have to work hard to support them. You can put them in a playpen instead of these “containers”. This is a great place for them to play and develop their motor skills. 

  1. Hold Them

When you start helping your child to walk, you should hold them around their rib cage. As they become more upright and stronger, start holding them at the hips to encourage them to use their core muscles. When they start taking their first steps, hold them by the tips of their fingers. This encourages a forward base of support and early toe-walking.

  1. Support During Cruising

During the cruising stage, you should make a habit of standing behind them when they’re holding onto a chair or table. This forces them to rotate their trunk toward you, forcing them to take one hand of the support. Doing this encourages more independent standing.

  1. Motivate Them

Use something to motivate them to walk. It could be a toy or even a snack. Use it to encourage them to walk towards you. Stand just a few feet away on a carpeted surface to ensure they’re safe in case they fall.

  1. Dress Them for Walking

Whenever you’re indoors, avoid dressing the child in bulky winter clothing as it might be cumbersome. Let them walk around in their diapers so they can move around freely.

When do babies walk? Now you know all about it.