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There’s nothing you can do to make your child walk before they’re ready, but there are a few tricks and little home adventures you engage in to encourage their desire to walk.
First things first — there's nothing you can do to make your baby walk before he's developmentally ready because children strengthen their muscles and learn how to properly balance on one leg while taking a step with another at different rates. You can work together on developing this strength, which often comes from rolling, sitting, crawling, and playing every way possible, except moving around in a baby walker.

Roughly half of all babies walking within the first 13 months of their lives, but there's large "normal walking age window". While some babies walk independently by the time they're nine months old, others prefer to crawl or cruise until 18 months. Anything within the range between nine and 18 months is considered normal because each baby is different. If your baby still doesn't walk after a year and a half, call your doctor because healthy children should be walking by this time. [12]

1. Work on their muscle strength and balance

Pulling up to a stand and starting to walk is a grand milestone in your baby's life, and indeed yours. In order to stand up and take a step, a baby needs to coordinate almost all of her major muscle groups at the same time, including her core, arms, back muscles, and of course — her legs. This is indeed amazing; it's no wonder that it's one of the most discussed and most remembered milestones throughout life.

Studies have found that during the phase of learning to walk, children take around two thousand steps every day, and when they actually learn to walk, the number can be as high as a whopping nine thousand steps. [34]

In order to motivate a child to move around and work on his strength, feel free to place solid furniture within his reach and close to other items of furniture — this way your little one can walk and have fun by holding on to something safe and sturdy. Placing his favorite toys along the “path” can also be a fun motivation for a child learning to walk on his own.

If you have a pro crawler who seems to refuse to move around any other way than on all fours, get innovative — take some construction tape and place some plastic cups or lightweight toys on the walls for him to discover and move around. There are numerous games you can play with your little explorer, things like pushing an empty cardboard box or stuffing it with toys so it acts like a bus — just get creative.

2. Praise your child

Give your little one plenty of praise when she manages to do something such as get the toy that you've put near for her to bring when she pulls herself up into a stand, or whatever amazing thing she’s up to at the moment. Encouragement is a great motivator, for adults as well as children [56]. A lot of claps and exaggerated “bravos” here and there might encourage her to go even further — to start walking on her own.

3. Find them some friends

There's no need to arrange play dates — simply take a stroller and go somewhere where you know there will be other toddlers. We go to a local park with a playground — with swings, seesaws, slides, and everything. It can be a local mall with a play area as well. Point and praise their little peers with an encouraging tone: “Hey, see how well that little girl is walking! Tell her ‘bravo!’ honey“.  Tiny mobile people will likely encourage her to try to walk too as it's in our nature to compete and do whatever our peers are doing.

It's a well-known fact that children learn from imitating others [7], and scientists found that babies with older siblings tend to walk on their own sooner than children without brothers and sisters. If you don't have other children or friends with small kids, playgrounds are really the cat's whiskers.

4. Keep them barefoot and diaper-free often

Experts recommend letting your baby roam around the house with without shoes on as often as possible. Being barefoot is important for “grounding” — we use different muscles and tendons to feel different surfaces, so it’s good for children to have this sensation to guide them in their practice to stand and move around. [8]

Your baby will need shoes outside to protect her feet, but definitely not with inserts, reinforced heels, or special arches. Even though manufacturers have already made you believe that these are designed to support the baby’s feet, they have no proven benefits and you can go with regular sneakers or nonskid sandals. [9]

Research has found that diapers also tend to impede an infant’s movement, and it's advised to leave them naked at least for a while every day. According to researchers, diapers may decrease a child’s natural range of movement, thus postponing this important milestone. [10]

5. Childproof your home

After a child starts walking more, there's nothing as important as making your home safe for them to move around. If you have sharp edges, cleaning products and toiletries lying around, or stoves and heaters that she can grab and burn herself — place it all out of your child's reach.

We have a room that we'd barely use for anything, so I moved all dangerous items that were lying around the house in there. It's convenient— we can lock the door and be sure that our toddler girl won't get harmed because of our negligence.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, having a baby walker in your home poses a safety hazard for your child. Inside them, children can move fast and far — three feet (almost 1m) in a second. This is enough to get burned, fall down stairs, drown, or get poisoned. Most of the injuries occur when parents are watching because barely anyone is that quick to prevent the trouble. [1112]

The bottom line

Encourage your child to get on his feet as much as possible. If you need to put him down, put him on his feet instead of sitting him down. The more the child gets used to standing and cruising — the more interested she will get into taking her first individual steps.

You can't teach children to walk, but you can motivate them to explore, gain some confidence, and acquire the strength necessary for moving their little bodies around. [13]

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