Learning how to walk is certainly one of the most exciting moments in your baby’s first year. However, it can also become one of the most anxious, what with all the concerns and worries about your child’s progress. Furthermore, there are also the various myths about it that can cause a lot of confusion. In this article, we will take a look at some of these myths and debunk them for your benefit.
Myth no. 1: Babies who walk earlier would be smarter and fitter than those who walk later
This myth runs on the common, but mistaken, assumption that being able to do something earlier than expected is a sign of being faster learners, hence smarter. However, according to studies conducted by experts, there really isn’t any notable difference between babies who managed to walk at 8 months and those who only made their first steps at 18 months.
It is also worth noting that the age starts to walk is determined by several factors, including his size and body proportions. Babies who have larger head to body proportions tend to learn to walk much later as they need to first build the strength to support their bodies when standing.
However, one thing that you can deduce from the age at which your child starts to walk is his eventual personality. Early walkers tend to be more of a risk taker as they would want to try out new things once they learn how. On the other hand, those who walk later are of the more cautious type, as they would want to make sure they get everything right before going all out on a new activity.
Myth no. 2: Your child’s leg muscles are the most important part
When talking about walking, you will naturally think about legs. However, there are actually several major muscle groups that work together to get your feet intro strides. The back, neck, and arm muscles are important in keeping you balanced while the core trunk muscles help in keeping the body in a proper posture.
Hence, to get your baby prepared for the walking milestone, you have to also train these various groups. For this, it would be a good idea to let him do a variety of activities that will keep him moving, such as putting objects in front for him to reach. This will train him to lean and move forward and side to side and get his muscles worked out.
It is also worth noting that there is actually no special exercises needed to develop your baby’s legs. Also, contrary to common belief, letting your child stand on your lap will not make him bowlegged.
Myth no. 3: Using a walker will help your baby learn to walk
A walker is definitely one of the items that many parents would be looking for when buying baby stuff. However, how effective is it really in helping your child learn to walk? As it turns out, not that much.
While it might help in developing baby’s lower leg muscles, that’s pretty much about it. It won’t be able to do anything about his upper leg muscles and hips. What more, it may contribute to delays as your young one will then have to learn to walk without the walker.
These devices also pose some safety concerns. In particular, these can actually topple over when left unattended, causing injuries to your baby. This is why they are, in fact, banned in countries like Canada and the United States.
Myth no. 4: Your child will learn to walk faster if he wear’s shoes
This notion is probably brought about by the assumption that the weight of the shoes will help train his feet by serving as resistance. However, as it turns out, being barefoot is a better way to train. This is because being barefoot gives your child more freedom to bend his feet, as well as give beginning walkers better grip.
Of course, when heading outside, you do need to give him shoes. Here, another common belief is that hard-soled shoes are a better option as these supposedly keep his feet aligned and his toes protected. In reality, though, you might actually want to go with the opposite as soft-soled shoes provide better grip, hard soles tend to be more slippery.
Myth no. 5: Your baby should be crawling by 6 months
This one is closely related to the first myth. Crawling is certainly an important stage in your child’s road to his first steps, as it helps him build his upper body strength and develop finer motor control. But, as is with the other stages, this one does not come in at exactly the same time for every kid, with some starting to crawl only at 9 months.
Furthermore, some kids would actually skip the crawl phase and go directly to cruising around the room. Hence, you should not be worried if your child is not going down on all fours as long as the other stages of walking are proceeding as expected.