Some babies will walk as early as six to seven months of age. Other babies might not learn to walk until a few months past their first birthday. The factors that help decide when a baby will start walking are the baby’s genes and his or her personality. Personality characteristics which help determine when a baby will walk are the baby’s sense of adventure, activity level and their sense of fear.

If a baby has not started walking by fifteen to eighteen months, he or she should be taken to the pediatrician for an evaluation.

The walking process

Before babies can learn to walk, they must first learn to pull up and stand. Eventually babies will learn to stand from a seated position without having something to hold on to.

Once a baby has pulled up and mastered the technique of standing, cruising begins. This is when the baby will walk around furniture, or from one set of hands to another. Occasionally the baby may remove his or her hands from their “safety” objects and stand alone.

Many babies will learn to take their first steps, then revert back to crawling. While this may be frustrating and confusing to caregivers, it is normal. Walking is hard work. When a child is in a hurry to reach something, or someone, he or she may revert back to crawling.

Baby shoes

When babies are first learning to walk, they should be barefoot as much as possible. If the child is in a warm environment and it is free from sharp hazards on the floor, they will learn to walk easier free of shoes. Shoes hinder the baby’s ability to feel the surface they are walking upon. For slippery surfaces or homes which are drafty, babies can be outfitted with a pair of socks that have non-skid or rubber soles.

All babies will need a pair of shoes for when they go outside or on errands with their caregiver. Shoes should be chosen that are lightweight. Shoes should be flexible, and boots should be avoided. Baby shoes should allow enough room for the baby’s toes to wiggle. Square toed shoes work best for infants who are learning to walk.

The most important thing about baby shoes is that they will need to be replaced often. Shoes that are too tight can cause problems in walking and in normal foot development. Our favorite shoes for new walkers are See Kai Run, Pediped, and Tsukihoshi.

Questions to ask your pediatrician about teaching your child to walk

  • When should you start teaching your baby to walk?
  • What is the best way to teach a baby to walk?
  • What are the best age-appropriate tools for encouraging walking?
  • Which games are best for encouraging walking?
  • Which is the best footwear after walking is learned?
  • Could walking too early delay other developments?
  • How can I help my toddler take his first steps?
  • What are the best toys to encourage walking?