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Preparing to Walk

Your baby’s physical skills develop rapidly as she prepares to toddle.
 

Learning Benefits

Isn’t it amazing how fast your baby grows and changes? At birth, her hands were clenched and her legs were bowed. She couldn’t even lift her head to look around. By now she may be well on her way to wiggling, crawling, and perhaps walking. Over the first year, your little bud blossoms into a wonderfully wild, active little flower as her physical skills develop. Here’s what to watch for:

Gaining Control
At first, your little one will reach out to grab a toy with both hands. A few months later, she’ll grasp the plaything with one. Between 4 and 8 months, she’ll learn to rotate her wrist. By about 9 to 10 months, she’ll be able to pick up peas or little bits of cereal with just her thumb and forefinger—this is called the pincer grasp. Giving your child tiny pieces of food on his lunch tray helps her practice this skill. At 10 months, she’ll start using her pointer finger as a tool. While her words are still unintelligible, she’ll use it to demand toys and attention, but she’ll also communicate emotions and express more clearly what she wants.

Before she learns to creep, your baby will work her legs under her tummy, push her body off the floor, and rock in place. Then she’ll start to inch forward with her tummy on the ground. Rapid crawling comes next. It requires your baby’s arms and legs to move alternately in coordination. By 8 to 12 months, your baby will make stepping movements while standing, holding on to a sturdy couch. With your help, she’ll walk by 11 or 12 months. You can help her develop her physical skills by being patient as she tries and tumbles and by providing her with safe spaces in which to creep, crawl, and toddle about.

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