Walking is the major achievement of kids this age and over the coming year they'll
get much better at it.
As kids' mobility improves, so does their ability to investigate where they couldn't
before. Once again, take a look around your home from a kid's vantage point and update
childproofing measures to
keep up with your child's advancing skills.
How Is My Child Moving?
Though some babies take their first steps around their first birthdays, most learn
to walk well in the months after they turn 1.
Kids who are learning to walk are called "toddlers" because that's exactly what
they do — they toddle, keeping their legs wide apart and seeming to hesitate
between each step, jerking from side to side as they move one foot forward, then the
About 6 months after taking their first steps, toddlers develop a more mature gait,
holding their hands at their sides (rather than out in front for balance) and moving
with their feet closer together. They also tend to move their feet in a way that looks
more like walking — moving from the heel to the toe.
During these months of practice, most toddlers take a
few spills, but this is part of learning to walk. You can't protect your youngster
from every fall, but you can reduce
the risk of injury by keeping exploration in safe areas away from sharp corners
of furniture and other hazards.
After walking for a couple of months, your child will begin to feel more confident
about walking and take on new challenges — such as picking up and carrying objects,
moving while pulling a toy behind, and climbing stairs.
By the middle to end of the second year, your child may learn to run, start to
kick a ball, and try to throw a ball. By 2 years, your child may jump in place.
How Can I Encourage My Child?
Give your child lots of things to do and see. Take walks around your yard and the
neighborhood, or visit a local playground.
At home, you can make an obstacle course of pillows or boxes and encourage your child
to walk, climb, and crawl through it. Buy a few balls for kicking and throwing.
Experts recommend that toddlers should:
get at least 30 minutes daily of structured (adult-led) physical activity like
playing on the playground, going for a walk, or being in a parent-and-child tumbling
get at least 1 hour of unstructured free play each day when they can explore and
play with toys
not be inactive for more than 1 hour at a time except when sleeping
have indoor and outdoor areas that meet or exceed recommended safety standards
for all of their activities
As their physical skills develop, toddlers also learn to use their hands more.
Toys and craft supplies that can encourage this include:
paper and crayons
stacking toys that kids can build up and knock down
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Normal child development tends to follow a certain pattern. The skills that babies
develop early serve as building blocks for future skills. Still, the time it takes
to develop these skills can vary widely among kids.
Let your doctor know if your child does not:
walk by 18 months
walk in a more mature pattern after several months of practice
walk any way but on the toes
climb stairs while holding on
Not reaching individual milestones doesn't necessarily mean there is a problem.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your child's development.