7 - 8 Months

Ways to practice pre-walking skills

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It may be some time before your baby takes their first wobbly steps ❤️ The age range for starting to walk is broad—between 9 and 18 months. But at as young as 8 months, they can start to build the skills they need to balance in an upright position and move their feet. 

To walk, your child needs to learn how to shift their center of gravity to right themselves when they start to tip over and put their arms out to protect themselves when they fall. They’ll need practice getting vertical, learning to cruise, and balancing on two feet.

Getting vertical

Place toys strategically for standing play. Place toys, board books, and other high-interest items on a surface just high enough for your baby to reach once they’ve pulled into a standing position. Couches (with the seat cushions removed if possible), ottomans, and sturdy low tables work well for this.

Help your baby go from squatting to standing (and back). Sit on the floor with your baby on your lap, just in front of a low surface they can pull up on, such as a coffee table. Help guide their hips into a standing position, then help them back down. This teaches your baby how it feels to go up and then down again, which strengthens the muscles they’ll use for walking.

Try encouraging a ‘tall kneel’ in front of a low surface. A tall kneel means kneeling with your baby’s bottom lifted off their heels. Playing in this position works your baby’s core muscles and helps them practice balancing. Offer a fun toy on a nearby surface and help your baby reach for it while lifting their bottom off of their knees.

Learning to cruise

Make your home cruise-friendly. Consider moving a few pieces of furniture closer together so your baby can move freely between them. You might move an extra chair into your living area or place an ottoman beside a chair instead of in front of it. Be mindful of places your baby can fall—pad them and cover all sharp corners. 

Keep things close. Offer your baby toys on a surface just out of their reach when they’ve pulled up to stand to encourage cruising. You can increase the distance as your baby gets more comfortable taking weight off one foot in order to move the other. 

Add some challenges. Once your baby can cruise in a straight line, create play setups that involve new challenges. Arrange furniture so that your baby needs to round a corner or move between two parallel surfaces, like a couch and low table set far enough apart that your baby needs to reach from one to the other.

Balancing on two feet

Turn them around. To support turning while standing, offer your child a toy while you stand right behind them. They’ll need to rotate their body to grasp it, which helps them develop the balance needed to eventually walk.

Support them from behind. Instead of having your baby face a wall or soft piece of furniture, try placing them with their back to the support. This gets them used to the feeling of having nothing in front of them while still having something to lean on.

Stand away from surfaces. Sit your baby on the floor away from a supportive surface. Offer them a toy up above them. Keep a tight hold on the toy and as your baby grasps it, the toy will help them pull up. This gives your baby a new kind of balancing practice with less stabilizing support than they would get by holding onto a table or couch.

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Posted in: 7 - 8 Months, 9 - 10 Months, 11 - 12 Months, Lovevery App, Gross Motor, Walking, Standing, Balance, Physical Development

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