My baby is a little more than a year old, but is still not walking! Should I be worried?
Chitra's friend once said, "Oh, my little Arjun started walking when he was just ten months old!" So when Chitra's son did not start walking by the age of one, she hit the panic button. She rushed to the family doctor, and though he assured her that nothing was wrong with her child, she spent endless nights worrying and praying. She couldn't get rid of the nagging fear that something was wrong, and just when she was contemplating visiting a specialist, her baby took his first step at 13 months.
Muscle development starts from head to toe. Your child will first develop control over the neck muscles. He will then learn to control the torso, and finally, the leg muscles. Your baby will first start sitting up, crawling and turning over. He will enjoy being bounced on your knee. By the time he is around 8 months, he will start learning how to stand. He will try to pull himself upright by holding on to furniture.
The normal age range when a child starts walking is 9 to 15 months, and most children start walking just after the age of one - between 13 to 14 months. So if your 14 month child cannot walk, but can crawl, sit, stand, there is no cause for concern. Some babies skip the crawling stage altogether, and may start walking when they are 16-17 months.
Every child is unique, and develops differently.
While most children are walking by the age of 18 months, it is perfectly normal if your child cannot do so - IF his other milestones are developing properly. Your child may not be able to walk at the age of 18 months, but can he sit up, stand and crawl? If not, yes, there may be cause for concern. It makes sense to speak to a doctor if this is the case, just to make sure that everything is normal. What is important to remember is that different babies develop different skills at a different rate so once again, don't go by fixed charts. Give your child some developmental leeway.
Try and remember that late milestone development is not an indicator that your child will be a slow learner as well.
How can you help your child to start walking?
Walkers are definitely NOT recommended, because babies tend to rely on them too much. As a result, their upper leg muscles don't develop as well as they should, and this could lead to a delay in the development of the walking milestone. In addition, each year there are around 200,000 injuries sustained by children due to walkers, and around 30,000 of these injuries are severe - they include fractures, dislocations etc.
Canada has banned the use of walkers, and the American Medical Association and various other organizations have proposed a ban on walkers in the United States. DON'T get your child a walker.
Don't make your child wear shoes indoors. It is easier to learn waking barefoot.
When holding your child while trying to make him walk, don't hold his legs or hands. Hold him by the torso.
Try and encourage your child to develop by calling him to you, or placing a chocolate piece just out of reach, so that he crawls towards it.
Make sure the floor is not too slippery, as your child may not find it easy to balance on such a floor.
Many parents believe that they require to get their children expensive aids to toys to facilitate early development. Nothing could be further from the truth. What you need to do most is interact with your child, especially to facilitate brain development. Children love to hear stories. Instead of explaining your child a story in your own words, read it aloud to him. This will help him develop his vocabulary. Play with him, sing to him, talk to him - The reason younger children develop faster than their older sibling is that they have someone to interact with constantly. This makes all the difference.
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- The Indiaparenting Team