Helping Your Toddler To Walk & Talk
The first thing to note about helping your toddler to walk and/or talk is that all children learn at their own pace. What your first child learned at one might take your second child until eighteen months. The important thing is not to rush your child when it comes to these milestones.
The Early Stages
From the day they are born, you will more than likely sing and talk to them. This is an essential part in your child’s development. From 6 months your baby will start to play with sounds, mumbling words like “dada” or “baba.” Babies at this stage are also aware of emotions linked to voices so will laugh at a funny voice or begin to cry if they hear loud or angry voices. From about 12 months, your baby will begin to understand words and make associations. If you ask “Where’s Granny?” They will look or point towards their grandmother and so on.
At 18 months your child will have a few words, and understand up to 25. They will begin to communicate and give objects their own version of a word, “boba” for bottle etc.
From about 2 years old sentences will start to enter you and your toddler’s life. Although it can be confusing to understand them when they’re trying to put words together, make sure to smile and look interested when they try to speak to you. It can be frustrating for a toddler if you struggle to understand so ensure to pay full attention and encourage them as they go.
A great way to help your toddler form short sentences is to narrate your daily activities. Getting dressed in the morning say things like “Open the drawer”, “Arms up”, “Socks on” etc. The same can be said for going grocery shopping, “the green lettuce” and “red tomatoes” the words are big, and you shouldn’t expect your toddler to repeat the exact word back, but they might make efforts to try and will learn to associate colours and terms with certain items.
By age 3, your baby will have an expanded vocabulary and will start to engage in chatting, and make believe play.
The Early Stages
The journey to walking is broken down into four parts: sitting, crawling and standing, and eventually walking.
Between 4 to 7 months your baby will begin to pull themselves into a sitting position. This is the start of the walking journey, as the muscles your baby will need are starting to strengthen. From about 7 to 10 months, your baby will begin to crawl. This is when they learn to coordinate their legs and arms. To encourage your child to crawl, place their favourite toys around the room, and praise them when they crawl from one to the other. Getting down and crawling with them is also a great way for them to learn as they can mimic your movement. Your baby will also start to pull themselves up during this stage. It’s important to make sure items around the home are secure as they will use anything and everything to pull themselves up into a standing position.
Once your baby is starting to pull themselves up, walking is more than likely around the corner. To encourage them, hold them up so that their feet are flat on the floor and help them by walking them across the floor.
At about 9 months, your toddler will begin what is known as “cruising”, this means they will use walls and furniture to cruise along on their legs. This is important for their development and should be encouraged.
Once confident in their cruising, it’s a good idea to introduce a push along toy into your Toddler’s life. The next stage is to encourage them to walk without the walker. Kneeling down a few paces away and encouraging your toddler to walk towards you. Once they do, offer them lots of praise and lengthen the distance next time around.