Teaching your baby to walk
It takes practice to learn the art of walking so here’s some ways to encourage your toddler to take those first steps.
At a glance
Toddlers usually take their first steps around 14 months – some earlier and some later
To build their confidence and core strength encourage them to pull themselves up and cruise
Your voice and face are the best incentives to get your little one to take a step
Don’t forget to remove new hazards your mobile toddler can trip over
When do babies start walking
One small step for your baby. One giant leap for their independence. Learning to walk is a milestone many parents look forward to celebrating. The average toddler learns to walk at about 14 months, but every baby is different, so some may get there earlier and some will take a little longer. Give them time, even up to 18 months is considered normal, though you could encourage them to practise often and try not to carry them everywhere. If you’re still concerned, it might be advisable to seek medical help, so trained professionals can check your child’s posture, muscle tone and reflexes.
How to encourage your baby to walk
Although you can’t hurry their progress, there are a few things you can do to help build their coordination and confidence.
- Place an interesting toy on a chair to encourage your toddler to pull themselves up to reach it
- Give your baby lots of praise whenever they pull themselves up to standing and help them sit back down again as they won’t have mastered this yet
- If your baby is standing confidently while holding furniture, encourage them to ‘cruise’ around furniture or to hold their hands and get them to walk
- Once your baby is cruising try a push-along toy, which they can use to support themselves while walking. Make sure it is stable and solid enough to support their weight securely
- Your smiling face and encouragement is the best way to motivate your baby to take their first steps on their own. So kneel down a few feet away, hold out your arms and smile as you urge your baby to take a few steps towards you
Safety tips for babies
While they’re still learning the basics, your toddler will be a bit wobbly on their feet. That’s why they’re called toddlers after all. So best to be on the look-out for new hazards.
- Reduce the risk of falls by keeping the floor clear of toys and other objects
- If you have a wood or laminate floor, it’s best to remove your baby’s socks so they don’t slip
- Take a look at our full list of safety tips for toddlers on the move