The Art of Running
Your little one taking those first steps is an unforgettable moment for any parent!
Walking is an essential motor skill that helps your baby learn about and interact with their environment, practice physical abilities and socialise with other children during play. It is also an essential element in developing physical health and fitness.
Your little one will naturally develop the coordination, balance and strength they need to move through exploration, imitation and sheer curiosity.
Even though they progress through different stages, you can be sure their first steps will always be special.
Stages of motor development
As your baby grows, they will gain several crucial gross motor skills needed to walk and run over their first year.
Every child develops differently, so if your baby has not reached these milestones in the time frame stated, there is no need to be concerned.
Allow them some time to get there before speaking with a specialist.
They can move their head from side to side
They can flex and extend their arms and legs
They can raise their head and chest when lying on their belly.
Moves legs and arms off of the surface when excited
Able to bring hands to mouth
Babies learn to roll over from their stomachs to their backs and vice versa
They can sit up with support
They begin to learn how to reach and grab for objects
While standing with support, accepts entire weight with legs
Reaches for nearby toys while on tummy
While lying on back, reaches both hands to play with feet
Babies learn to crawl, although some may skip this stage and go straight to cruising or walking
Sits without support
Sits and reaches for toys without falling
Moves from the tummy or back into sitting
They can pull themselves up to a standing position
Pulls to stand and cruises along furniture for support
They begin to take their first steps and eventually learn to walk independently
Stands alone and takes several independent steps
Moves in and out of various positions to explore the environment and get desired toys
Maintains balance in sitting when throwing objects
Squats to pick up a toy
Stacks two objects
Starts to jump with both feet leaving the ground
When walking, they can pull toys behind them
Stands on tiptoes
Climbs on low furniture
Kicks large ball
Goes up and down stairs with support
The First Year
Your baby is going through tremendous developmental progress in their first year. Physically, they are mastering the skills that will ultimately enable them to run and walk, like supporting their weight, balancing without aid, controlling their upper body and other necessary capabilities. Walking is the end-product of months of motor development. They must build these skills to stand and eventually take those crucial steps.
Your baby must explore and play on their stomach and back each day to develop their motor skills. Provide plenty of opportunities for them to move freely in a safe environment and give them ample space. This helps to build strength in their muscles, increases their awareness of sensations and reactions, and encourages them to move independently. To ensure this happens, avoid long periods in buggies and car seats.
Tummy time allows your little one to explore their own body and discover how their head, limbs and neck move. By performing activities on their tummy, your baby will become stronger, better able to control their movements, and have improved neck and shoulder muscles to support their progress when learning to roll over, sit up, crawl and eventually walk.
Allow your baby ample opportunities to explore its environment. Place a few toys in front of them while they are on their back and tummy throughout the day. They will attempt to move towards the objects, typically first learning to roll from front to back before being able to roll back to back. This will be their first experience of independently getting to something they desire!
Instead of leaving your baby lying flat on the ground, try letting them sit up and observe the world from a different angle. This can be done by placing them on your lap or providing support when they sit up. As your baby gets bigger and more stable, try gradually providing less support so they can learn to sit up independently.
In contrast to high chairs, sitting on the floor helps them practice independent sitting. In addition, it allows them to develop their ability to move around. Therefore, try to give your baby a chance to practice sitting independently on the floor.
Moving from lying to sitting
To strengthen their tummy, back and shoulder muscles which will help them to crawl and walk, encourage your baby to transition from lying to sitting up frequently. Each time you go to change their nappy or pick them up off the floor, take their hands and provide a gentle pull as you help them move into a sitting position. Give your baby a chance to keep working at it; before you know it, they'll be able to quickly pull themselves up!
Your little one has been progressing by playing on their stomach and back and practising transitioning from lying down to sitting. All this effort has been helping them build up their core muscles, and they should now be comfortable enough to lift themselves up on their hands and knees. This is a precursor to their upcoming milestone of crawling!
Remember that crawling does not necessarily have to mean using their hands and knees; some babies have a unique technique of crawling using their elbows and legs on the floor, often called the commando style.
To make things easier, create a gripping surface for your baby to crawl on, such as a rug or carpet. Suppose your house has laminate or wooden flooring. In that case, your baby might be doing a different version of crawling, like the bottom shuffle instead.
When your baby is finally crawling, climbing stairs will teach them how to stand and walk (with supervision).
Moving into standing
For your baby to take their first steps, they need to have the capability to sit, transition into a kneeling position, and eventually stand up on its own.
Your baby should have access to appropriate height surfaces to support their pulling-up, such as coffee tables, couches, chairs, etc., yet be mindful of the furniture's sharp edges and corners.
As a parent, we naturally want to purchase various devices and accessories for our babies which we think might help them with this process, but try to resist the urge to invest in items such as door bouncers and standing/jumping baby gyms, as their use can restrict physical development.
These items may also cause your baby to adopt an on-tiptoe stance and arch their back, making it challenging to learn to remain upright and move around with a flat foot.
Parents eagerly await the last major milestone of their baby - walking - which usually occurs between 12-18 months. To achieve this milestone, babies must first stand with furniture support, navigate around the furniture, walk with push-along walkers, or take hands.
These are all significant steps that vary in duration depending on the baby, with additional influences like laminate flooring at home or distant furniture requiring them to crawl in between.
During the past year, your baby has seen incredible growth in their motor skills, and your encouraging presence has been invaluable as they started walking.
Now, the next stage of development for them is running, and you cannot wait to see them run to you after a long day at work!
To foster the development of running skills, ensure your child is given lots of safe and entertaining opportunities to stay active. For example, try playing games that involve running or chasing to reinforce their walking skills and set a good example for them to follow.
Running is not only a form of physical activity that strengthens physical fitness, motor skills, coordination, and overall health but also an enjoyable and rewarding activity.
Buying your baby's first pair of shoes
When it comes to your little one's first pair of shoes, there's no need to rush; however, when you feel they need extra protection, it's probably time to get them a pair.
For their first shoes, don't shop online. Find a trusted shoe shop near you and bring your child in for a fitting. A fitter will measure the length and width of your child's feet, and they will tell you their shoe size.
When looking for shoes, ensure that the sole is flexible and can grip the ground, and make sure the fastenings are adjustable.
Velcro shoes are perfect since they are simple to adjust, even in a rush. Additionally, these shoes will help your child put them on and take them off independently.
High tops should be avoided, as they restrict ankle movement, so find shoes with padded ankles for extra support and protection. Moreover, there should be some space at the front of the shoes for your little one's toes to spread and wiggle.
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