And I Would Walk 500 Miles...
Walking seems to always be on the forefront of a parent's mind during the first year of their child's life. This makes sense. Walking is essential for cognitive, social, and muscular-skeletal development. Walking is one of the most recognized motor milestones, and, it is so adorable watching those first steps!
What allows our kids to walk?
Walking development is so cool. I will not bore you all today with the scientific details of bipedal locomotion including spatial awareness, movement initiation and termination, multi-task awareness, anticipatory dynamic balance… It's a looooong list, Phew!
Instead, I want to focus on one factor that allows our children to start walking independently...
I cannot even begin to tell you the number of professional articles that tackle the subject of walking in the pediatric physical therapy world. Typically, the take-away message from these articles is practice. Practice intensely and practice often.
What are some tricks of the trade to help my child practice walking?
I love this question and have developed multiple classes, education sessions, and lectures devoted to the topic. Here, I will give you just a few tricks.
Kicking. In the early months, touch those feet, have them touch different textures with their feet on a play mat (this is such a vital activity that I will devote a whole post to this topic soon!)
Cruising. Stand the child facing the furniture, move the toys out of her reach, make her reach and shift her weight to start stepping
Balance. Stand the child with her back to the furniture, have her play, reach and pick up toys and shift her weight
Walking. Hold both hands, then hold just one hand and explore; Change your hand position to hold the child's hands down towards the shoulders or hips
More Walking. Use a push-toy (not a walker), get them excited and interested in a push toy and let them explore! (Some kids prefer to use chairs or stools)
Babies need to take close to 10,000 steps prior to walking independently, so, start practicing!
As a pediatric physical therapist, I am proficient in the most effective practice techniques to teach your family walking skills. Learning is fun! At Boost Babies, we teach walking skills using play. during wellness classes.