Why is my baby afraid to walk?
When it comes to raising a child, there are certain milestones that every parent looks forward to. Things like your baby’s first laugh, first words, and first tooth are all moments that anyone with kids likes to think about and record.
However, when your child seems to be reaching these firsts at a slower rate than your other children, it can cause a bit of a damper on things. Waiting for these moments can be stressful instead of exciting.
One of the notorious firsts that may have parents worried is the first steps.
A lot of people experience that their baby is afraid to begin walking. While this could be troublesome for a few, it is widespread. Many things can be done to help overcome this slight roadblock.
Understanding Your Baby’s Fear of Walking
The first step in getting past it is understanding the fear and where it comes from. First and foremost is to note that a lot of children, as much as 40% of them, begin to walk at an age that is considered later than average. This fact shows that this issue is not an uncommon one.
Therefore, your baby being afraid to walk shouldn’t cause an enormous concern.
The fear of walking in actuality isn’t that; it is a fear of falling. Because the leg muscles in children are not fully developed, they are prone to falling when taking their first steps. The idea of falling and hurting themselves scares the baby.
Due to this fact, it is not unusual for a child to begin walking a bit later than others. However, if a baby has not been walking or at least attempting to walk by the age of 18 months, it could be an issue of motor skills not developing correctly.
At that point, reaching out to a doctor could be a good call.
How to help your baby walk:
One way that parents can help overcome the fear of walking is just helping the baby get used to it. In reality, taking the first steps and walking is something new to the child. This idea means they’ll have to warm up and get used to it before it becomes a regular part of their routine.
Grab your baby’s hands and attempt to help them take a few steps. This can get them familiar with the form and using leg muscles in general.
Doing this repeatedly a couple of times a day can be a great help, even more so if it is on a schedule or routine. That way, your baby is more comfortable with walking because he/she expects it to happen at the same time every day.
Your baby is afraid of falling!
As mentioned above, the fear of walking isn’t that. Instead, it is the fear of falling. A simple but effective way to overcome the fear is simply eliminated it or at least make it less harsh.
Baby-proofing to help your baby walk:
Baby-proofing a living space is something that most parents do before the child has arrived. Making extra efforts to make the walking area more safe and comfortable can do wonders when it comes to teaching children to take their first steps.
Using furniture that has rounded edges, and making sure the floor in which steps are being taken can be a big help. The goal is to make the falls the baby will take while walking less painful. That way, they aren’t as afraid of them.
Strengthening Your Baby’s Leg Muscles
Another way to make walking more comfortable for a child is to help them build their leg muscles up. The entire reason why walking can be such a struggle is that their leg muscles aren’t yet fully developed. Therefore, it can be hard for your baby to balance and support themself when standing up.
Parents, however, can do things that can assist in building these muscles up. Your efforts can make it infinitely more simple for the child to begin balance and to walk.
Allowing a baby to stand in the lap of a parent while they hold their hands and letting them bounce and jump is a speedy way to assist in building leg muscles.
This exercise lets your baby get practice supporting themselves with their legs in a way in which they can’t fall. Remember, the parent is securely holding them during this exercise.
Things like tummy time, crawling, and virtually anything that permits leg kicking can assist in building the leg muscles of infants up.
Encourage Your Baby to Walk
Additionally, encouraging children to walk more is a great way to assist in overcoming the fear of walking. This can mean both verbal encouragement but physical as well. Things like toys, and even people are beneficial in this department.
A parent standing across the room, and encouraging the child to walk towards them is a prevalent form of this tactic, and it seems to work a lot in most cases.
Using push toys can help as well. For example, a toy shopping cart given to a child can help them begin walking as they can push on it and lean for balance.
Praise Your Baby for Their Walking Efforts
It’s important to remember that babies are still human beings. They have a lot of the same motivations and feelings as healthy adults do.
With this being said, praising your baby for their efforts when it comes to walking is a great way to reinforce it. Encouragement can make your baby continue trying and practicing their walk. Babies want praise from their parents, and to make them proud.
So if a baby sees that them attempting to walk makes their parents happy, even if it is difficult for them, they will keep trying to do so. Also, if the child falls, be sure to express gratitude and encouragement for how they are trying.
All in all, the firsts of a child’s life are significant moments, and rightfully so. These memories are meant to be moments that are special and remembered forever; not stressful ones.
Above all else, just remember that each child is different and will cross certain boundaries at different times. Fear of walking is entirely healthy. A child walking a bit later than others is not something to automatically fear.
There are a bunch of things parents can do to help overcome this concern.