Developmental stages

1 Year on…

These next five – six months will be filled with fabulous firsts, accelerated growth, astounding development and endless exploration. Your smart little one will be able to pinch small objects using the tip of the index finger and the thumb picking up small objects, focus for longer on pictures and books and be more confident in learning to walk… the action days are here!

First Steps

Your baby’s first steps kick off a phase of endless “firsts”… Once she learns to stand it’s just, practice and she will begin toddling and walking. Many children go from pulling up to cruising (or walking by holding on to furniture) around month 9 or 10.  Most children don’t take their first independent steps until well after their first birthdays, around month 13 – 18 months on average.

There is a big range of normal so let your little one determine when she is ready. One thing’s for sure: Your toddler will eventually learn to walk — but on her timetable, not yours.

Let your child have plenty of open exploration time outside of the stroller or carrier and let her explore where ever her she is safe to go.

Barefoot baby. No need to invest in a shoe wardrobe:  As long as its safe to let your baby walk barefoot (or, if you’d like, in non-slip socks) as much as possible to help build muscle tone in her feet and ankles, to help her arches develop, and to learn balance and coordination. Her feet may look flat to you, that’s just baby fat plumping them up. By age 2 or 3, the extra “fluff” will reduce and you’ll be able to see her natural arches.

Expect some stops and starts. A child who’s decided to master other developmental feats — such as sounding out words or finger foods now that she can pick them up with her thumb and pointer finger — may take a break of a few weeks, or even a month, from walking.  Walking toddlers may suddenly go back to crawling after a bad tumble or an illness.

What not to worry about: Every baby develops differently and at her own pace, so if your baby is not cruising around furniture by month 10 or walking by her first birthday, it’s not a cause for concern. There’s not much that parents can do to speed up a baby’s development timeline besides providing lots of safe, fun, supportive opportunities to practice during playtime.

Trips and falls.  When your little one first starts walking, he wobbles and launches and may takes a dive, he’s still farsighted and doesn’t  have the depth perception of an older child. Watch him carefully at all times — then try not to stress over his frequent and unavoidable tumbles. Your determined little one may cry if he falls, but chances are he’s more frustrated than injured.