Here come your toddler’s first steps: little trots, and bumps and tumbles! So they’ll need your love, encouragement and support to help them develop their skills and their confidence. Your little one will have already been preparing for their first steps by building up strength in their legs and knees. Bouncing in baby bouncers or on your knees have helped this.

When is your toddler ready to walk?

Once they can pull themselves up and stand strong while holding onto something like your legs or a sofa, you can start to encourage them further. They may start walking any time between 10-18 months, but remember every baby is different and yours will walk in their own time.

How you can help

  • Encourage them with praise, outstretched arms and big smiles.
  • If they fall try to hold off from rushing over to pick them up, let them stand back up themselves. This will help strengthen their knees which will also help them for sitting down and picking up things.
  • Move your furniture so your toddler can just about reach it while moving from one piece to another, and as their balance improves you can space it out a little more.
  • Use toys to tempt them further, bubbles are good because toddlers love to follow them.
  • Barefoot is the way to go while they’re inside – socks can be slippery if you have hard floors.
  • Push-along toys are fun and will help their confidence.
  • Take your little one out for a walk (not in the buggy). They need time to practise. Once they can walk on their own they should get at least 3 hours of physical activity each day, but it can be a mixture of simply walking or standing, to skipping or running.

Safety + fun = more fun

It may seem like your toddler wants to empty every cupboard in the house, so for their safety and your sanity keep your home toddler-proof.

  • Child safety locks or elastic bands are good for keeping cupboards closed.
  • Place padding on sharp edges. Their head could be at the same level as your coffee table.
  • Keep the floor clear of toys to prevent tripping.
  • Your toddler will start to climb everything so move the furniture away from windows.
  • It’s extremely important you are vigilant around ponds, paddling and swimming pools. Make sure there are safety gates by swimming pools, always empty paddling pools, and you can cover ponds with metal grids.
  • When cooking turn your pan handle in so your toddler can’t reach up and grab it.
  • Never leave your cup of tea or coffee in reach of your toddler.

Climbing up and down stairs

The easiest way for them to go downstairs is to either go down backwards on their tummy or facing forward on their bottom. Show them and they will copy. It will take some time for them to learn how to take alternate steps, so be patient and never let them go up and down by themselves. If you are worried, insert some stair gates until they are more confident.