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baby walking tipsWhen your baby is about to walk, it's an exciting time for your family. Walking means independence and freedom; your little one is about to start traveling all over your house. Soon he/she will be demanding trips outside or to the playground. Remember not to push your child. Every kid walks when they are ready so you don't want to create stress during this exciting time, but here's how you can gently help.

1. Go barefoot.

When you’re at home, leave your child barefoot, even without socks. Let her feel the floor and develop all those foot, toe, and ankle muscles. Shoes and socks will be a new challenge later on. Of course, you’ll need to put her in shoes if you’re outside.

2. Leave those toys scattered about.

If you’re tempted to put everything away, suppress that urge! Leaving toys and games out in the room gives your baby a reason to move around. This is helpful even before your baby is walking. By crawling and scooting around the room, she’ll learn that she’s capable of great mobility.

3. Create a soft space for practice.

When your baby begins to show signs of walking, have her play in an area that’s safe from harm. Walking takes lots of practice, so you want to eliminate any reasons that would discourage her from trying. When she falls, she should want to try again.

4. Make opportunities to cruise.

If you don’t have anything in your play area or living room for baby to hold on to and cruise around, consider rearranging the furniture temporarily. Often a sturdy coffee table or ottoman is sufficient for your baby to pull herself up and take tentative steps.  You can move it back in a couple of months once your baby is officially a toddler.

5. Expect a walking/standing position.

Whenever you put baby down, put her down in the standing position and hold her for a brief pause until she pushes against the floor with her legs to stand. Don’t immediately sit her down – she’ll enjoy the challenge.

6. Don’t expect perfection.

After your baby’s first steps, don’t expect her to walk everywhere on her own. She’ll use a mixture of cruising, walking, and crawling wherever she goes for a while until she’s built up the right amount of strength and balance. You’ll also notice she drops into a crawl whenever she’s super excited because she can’t think enough to maintain the walk. It’s actually quite cute!

7. Don’t use a walker.

The American Academy of Pediatrics actually discourages walkers. By giving your baby a place to sit, they actually inhibit her development. Babies tend to leave some of their weight on the seat and fail to exercise key balance and strength muscles.

8. Praise, praise, praise!

When your little one crawls, cruises, or walks to you, make sure to heap on the praise. Kids learn best through positive reinforcement. You want to make it perfectly clear that mom and dad love seeing her walk so she has more reasons to do it.

car seat cover nursing cover stroller shadeGuest Blog by Laura Gravett, Inventor of PunkinWrap

Laura, a mom of two, is the inventor of PunkinWrap, a multi-use car seat cover and baby wrap. PunkinWrap is the only wrap purposely designed to multi-task as a blanket, car seat cover, sunshade, changing pad, tummy time mat, and nursing cover.  The 7-in-one baby solution can be placed over baby while nursing, over the car seat, or over the stroller to keep baby protected from the sun at all times. The wrap is lightweight and breathable so baby is always comfy. Plus, it also gives baby privacy while sleeping and protects him from the other elements like rain and wind.

More so, Laura is a former nanny with a degree in psychology who formerly worked at Yale University doing research. As an Atlanta native and currently residing in the best suburb of Atlanta: Roswell, Laura and her husband love their community. Laura volunteers on various committees in their city to help give back in any way she can.  Laura and her husband spent several years taking care of rescue dogs - transport, intakes, fostering, etc. and had to step away a bit once they had their first child. The Gravetts now have two children (girls ages 3 and 10 months) and three rescue dogs.

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