I happened upon a slideshow on our fair site entitled “10 Ways To Teach Your Baby To Walk.”
I have to say, I kind of laughed when I saw the title.
Why would you want to make your baby walk faster than they are ready?? Life becomes much more difficult once you have a walker on your hands. With walking comes lots of falling, and getting into even more places that are unsafe. After walking comes running, and that is a whole new can o’ worms.
And guess what? Your baby will figure out how to walk with absolutely no help from you. If you do nothing, he will still walk.*
*I’m referring to babies who are already developing at a normal pace, of course. Many babies that have been adopted from other countries have not had the freedom of movement necessary to build muscle strength to sit up, crawl, and walk. Other babies may have identified developmental delays. In these cases, yes, of course muscles should be exercised as prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist. What I’ve been told is that walking any time up until two years of age is completely normal, but every pediatrician has their benchmark for when to be concerned about developmental delays.
Even before I started taking Fuzz to RIE classes, I was never a fan of making Fuzz (or Shnook for that matter) ‘practice’ any of the skills that are highlighted in this slideshow. I did put him in tummy time, but mostly because he would get tired and then take a nap on his belly. Even my pediatrician said it was ok to let him nap this way, though it made me a little nervous.
With Shnook, I always thought it was funny how friends and family would always work with him on ‘skills.’ Things like baby sit-ups: essentially pulling them up by their arms, or walking with him by holding his arms. While I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that practicing these moves makes your baby not trust themselves, I do think it’s kind of silly to ‘exercise them’ when they will eventually figure this stuff out on their own.
RIE goes so far as to say you aren’t supposed to prop a baby up into sitting. I did do that, not because it helped to teach him to sit, but because often, it was more convenient for me. Sometimes life isn’t all about the baby.
My instincts tell me that children don’t need our help when it comes to these gross motor skills. Put them down and watch them move, and you’ll see for yourself.
Would you teach your baby to walk? Is this even possible?