The average age for a toddler to start walking is later than you might think—sometime between 13 and 15 months. Some toddlers walk as early as 9, while others start closer to 17. If your toddler is not walking by 18 months, it may be a good idea to talk to your pediatrician.
Here are a few tips to support your child’s walking development:
Keep them crawling, too
Even if your toddler has started walking, encouraging them to keep crawling from time to time has many benefits. Crawling helps to coordinate the left and right sides of the brain, strengthens arms and upper body, builds core strength, and helps with hand-eye coordination.
You can keep them crawling by getting a Play Tunnel or by making an obstacle course with pillows for them to crawl over.
According to podiatrist Tracy Byrne, walking barefoot develops the foot’s muscles and ligaments, helps strengthen the arch of the foot and contributes to good posture.
Keep hands and arms low when “walking” your toddler
Holding your toddler’s hands above their head to help them walk is not always recommended. If your toddler really wants you to, you can hold their hands at their shoulder height or down by their sides. Janet Lansbury, a RIE parenting method instructor, has more to say about the disadvantages of walking your toddler:
”By holding our babies’ hands to mobilize, position and reposition their bodies, we hinder their natural ability to find balance, sense spatial relations, and judge what they can and cannot do.”