When should my child be walking?

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Many parents worry at the sight of their child crawling at the local park unable to achieve the milestones that they are expecting of their baby. Attempts at play with other children often result in an inability to keep up with the pace of children who seem to be growing at a faster pace. “When is my baby going to be able to make his way over to the slide? Why can’t my child keep up with the other children? When will my baby walk? Why hasn’t he or she achieved the desired milestones are questions that you may often wonder about.

Here at metrochildren we would like to provide educational information for you along your journey to help grow your child into an independent walker.

Education Consultant Candace Lindemann is a published children’s writer with a B.A. from Yale University and an M. Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Candace says that; ” babies walk in their own time. About 50%  of babies walk by one year but that still leaves another half of babies that will learn between 12 and 16 months”. She differentiates between babies who are more interested in fine motor or verbal development and babies who are developing walking abilities. In other words, some babies may be more inclined towards certain types of development and may arrive at other milestones later in their development. She concludes by saying that nevertheless “If your baby does not show an interest in moving around, has very stiff or very loose limbs, is showing signs of motor regression (losing previously mastered skills), always walks on his or her toes, has trouble grasping objects, or drools and has difficulty eating, make an appointment to speak with your physician.”( www. leapfrog.com)

Andrea Ragsdale is a Physical Therapist with a Doctorate in the field who writes for North Shore Pediatric Therapy and says there could be other reasons as to why a child isn’t walking. Additionally, she seeks to dispel the myth that children necessarily will begin taking their first steps by their first birthday. According to her expertise the normal range for independent walking is 10-18 months, however most children begin walking around 14-15 months. Delayed walking skills may be due to decreased muscle strength, decreased confidence, or impaired balance. See http://nspt4kids.com/parenting/why-isnt-my-child-walking-yet/ for more educational information about signs of each symptom and tips to help improve them.

Finally, Kathryn Wilcox, writing for Parenting Syrup, says that 18 months is a reasonable time to expect your child to be walking. If the child isn’t walking by then be sure to check with your doctor for an evaluation. She also suggests possible reasons as to why a child may not be walking. She questions whether the child has been confined to a playpen or crib. She writes; “He needs to get out and be given the freedom to explore! His curiosity will get him moving.” She continues to question whether or not the child has a walker that he or she sits in. She encourages the parent to get rid of the walker in order to help develop the child’s walking. Finally, she offers a tip to help motivate your child to reach the walking milestones by coaxing him/ her with a toy from across the room to come to you.

If you have concerns about your child’s abilities to move around independently, be it crawling or walking, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at metrochildren. We will be happy to answer your questions!