13 - 15 Months

Learning to walk is surprisingly emotional for toddlers

Toddler holding on to their mom's leg

Walking is a gross motor milestone so impressive that it can be easy to overlook the social-emotional effects, child development experts say. Your toddler is balancing their newfound physical independence and self-awareness with their need for connection and security.

As they practice walking, they may turn and look for you or cling to you more, especially in unfamiliar places or around new people. These are signs that your toddler is using you as a secure base ❤️ 

A game to build connection and walking confidence

A simple game of “I’m going to get you!” is a fun way to explore the tension between autonomy and connection. Chasing and catching your toddler over and over shows them that they can explore and you’ll still be there for them. As they walk or run from you, they get practice venturing off, and as you catch them, they get a reminder of reconnection and safety. 

Playing this game at home with a new walker can build a sense of security in a familiar environment, but it can also be helpful to play at the park or an unfamiliar place. If your toddler is cautious in new environments, this game can remind them that even when they’re exploring a new place, you will be there.

Learn more about the research

Clearfield, M. W. (2011). Learning to walk changes infants’ social interactions. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(1), 15-25.


Team Lovevery Avatar

Team Lovevery

Visit site

Posted in: 13 - 15 Months, 16 - 18 Months, Walking, Social Emotional, Behavior, Lovevery App, Child Development

Keep reading