If your toddler isn’t walking, chances are you have asked your doctor or searched online (I know that I did when our son wasn’t walking at 15 months!) As a therapist, I want to give you some suggestions for your toddler. Did you know that most babies have around 1,000 hours of walking practice between the time that they pulled themselves up for the first time & the time that they take that first step? Crawling, crab walking, scooting, standing… all of these things are helping your child to prepare to walk. While you can’t make a child walk, you can encourage him to do so. (Be prepared… life gets a whole lot busier!)   Remember not to press the issue, or you may actually hinder the progress. When our son wasn’t walking, I was concerned. He was a hypertonic baby (high muscle tone), so I knew that he would be a late walker, but that didn’t change the worry of this mama. The funny part was that I am a therapist and I work with children that aren’t walking on a daily basis. I suppose that it is different when it is your own child. Here are some things that helped our little guy (and many others that I work with) to take those first few steps…

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  1. Encourage Cruising (walk, holding onto furniture) – Cruising is an important ‘step’ before walking.   A suggestion that works well is to place things just out of reach, encourging them to want to walk for it. Place a toy or a puff (we used those little Gerber Puffs) on the opposite side of a piece of furniture and help them to walk to the other side to get it. (ex: a low coffee table or long ottoman)   Stand behind your child with your hands lightly on them, to help keep them from falling. You are there if they need you.

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  1. Lend a hand. – Give them a hand to hold. Start out holding both of their hands, but when they are ready, move to one hand and soon you will be letting go!   Our kids always had a hard time transitioning from two hands to one, so to help them get over this hurdle, I placed a small toy in the other hand. It seemed to ‘trick’ them into thinking that they were holding on with both hands.

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  1. Walk to Me! – If you can stand near a friend, spouse or family member, encourage your toddler to take those two steps to get from you to them. Our kids LOVED this game of going back & forth! We held their hand through most of it, but would let go for that final step.   If you are each holding a fun toy, drink or snack, that might entice your child even more.

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  1. Make it fun! – Roll a ball on a table or encourage your child to go get your dog or cat. Our kids loved running towards our dog. I had a walking Elmo doll that seemed to entice our kids just enough, too!

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  1. Increase the size of the gap. – Move furniture to give you child just enough space to take a step. Line 4 chairs up and let your child cruise from chair to chair, increasing that gap between each chair as he becomes a better cruiser. As hard as this is, try to be patient. Remember that you are (insert your age here) and you aren’t crawling on your hands and knees. Chances are that your child will be walking before you know it!

    By Becky Mansfield from Kidsactivitiesblog.com