Helping Toddlers to Toddle – Learning to Walk

When will my baby crawl? When will my toddler walk? When will my teenager rebel?

Parenthood has a lot of unknowns; each child is different so don?t be tempted to compare your little one with others. In a room full of children waddling around taking their first steps, your little one might be happy to sit or roll around a bit. Perhaps they love crawling so much they don?t really feel the need to get on their feet, or maybe they have never crawled and aren’t showing much interest in getting mobile at all! If you are concerned there is a reason your little one isn’t on the move, then speak with your doctor or health visitor ? chances are they will tell you that your child is just taking their time and will make those moves in their own time, but if there is a health problem they can address it quickly.

Development Guidelines

These guidelines are just that ? guidelines. Your child could easily walk sooner or later than the guidelines and still be completely healthy and normal. The average age for children to take those first steps is from 10-12 months. It usually begins with pulling up on furniture to a standing position, but even standing up isn’t necessarily a sure sign that the first steps are imminent! Some children stand and dance/wobble for months without stepping forward. Others travel around the room gripping the furniture. This is known as cruising, and soon your little one will take those first steps – camera at the ready!

If your child cannot stand by 12 months or walk by 18 months, have a word with your health visitor or doctor for a check-up.

Encouraging Walking

You cannot force a child to walk but you can encourage them with toys and treats held just out of reach. When your little one reaches the reward, let them have it ? don?t move it out of reach again! Always reward a good attempt, and remember that the best reward is your happy excitement and encouragement.

Safety Check

Remember that your child will now be able to reach places and objects that used to be out of reach so a home safety check is a good idea. Make sure anything that could be a potential hazard is out of reach, and don?t underestimate your newly mobile toddler ? if they can walk, chances are they will give climbing a good attempt too!


When to buy the first shoes is a tricky issue ? some people use cruising shoes on their little one when they begin to stand while others don?t put anything on the child’s feet until they are confident on their feet. Shoes for children change all the time, so the best approach is to visit your local shoe shop that sells shoes for young children. The staff there will be trained in measuring the feet and giving advice on your options.