By Chioma Obinna
Auntie, I am confused. Chibuzo will be a year old in two days time,and he has refused to walk.My mother says we should take him to a traditional healer.In fact, I am tired. Two of my children began to walk at eight months. Why should his be different? Children born the same period in my neighbourhood are walking.
Most babies take their first steps around their first birthday, but the age ranges from nine to 18 months. Don’t worry if your baby takes a few detours along the way. Some children never crawl— they go straight from standing to walking—and that’s perfectly normal. What is important at this stage is that your child is becoming mobile.
Walking is a major developmental leap for babies, and parents are often anxious about when it will happen. Every baby learns to walk at his own pace, however, so just because your friend’s child is already toddling doesn’t mean yours should be, too.
However, it is also important to monitor your child’s progress. Is he doing more this month than last month? Is he getting a little bit more of his body off the ground? If so, you’ve got nothing to worry about. If by the end of his first year he doesn’t make any effort to get around somehow, talk to your doctor.
It takes most babies about 1,000 hours of practice from the time they pull themselves upright to the time they can walk alone. From birth, the single most important requirement for walking is strong back muscles, which babies develop by lifting their heads while lying on their tummies. So make sure yours gets plenty of tummy time while awake. Place interesting toys and objects just out of reach for motivation.
From 4 -15 months, your baby goes from learning to sit up to walking around the house. During this exciting time you can help baby gain confidence steps through simple games and words of praise.
When baby starts sitting that are the first phase of gaining mobility. Sitting will help your little one strengthen the muscles required for standing.
During play time, roll a ball back and forth or play stacking games to help her enhance her little muscles.
The most important thing for baby to do at the crawling stage is to practice moving arms and legs at the same time (even if he does a belly crawl or a scoot). He will need these skills when it comes time to walk.
Help baby crawl from one side of the room to the other. Then give praise for the effort.
Once baby can stand
Let baby walk in front of you while you hold baby’s hands. Periodically let go off one hand to enable balance. Or stand a few feet away from baby and cheer when baby is standing unaided. Offer lots of encouragement and praise.
Next Saturday: Making your home safe for baby’s first steps.