What to do if your toddler hasn’t started walking

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It may be tempting to compare your child’s growth with toddlers in a similar age group but it’s essential to recognise that children develop uniquely and at their own pace.

 

While toddlers generally start walking at 14 months, if your child hasn’t started walking you should also look out to see how their other motor skills are developing. Are they beginning to explore by crawling, grabbing ahold of objects to balance themselves or kneeling? These are all monumental motor skill developments and indications that your child may be getting ready to take their first steps soon. So you may not need to worry.

 

Also bear in mind that not all babies begin to walk at 14 months. Some start quite later at 16 or 17 months. If your little one has gone past that mark and is still not walking, then you may seek professional help to assess your child’s motor skills.

Make an appointment with your doctor where a medical examination should be conducted, followed by a neurological exam and an assessment of your child’s reflexes, posture, and muscle tone. During this examination, the doctor should also take into account other important developmental issues including language, fine motor, and social skills.

The following steps should be taken during the examination

  • Your baby’s limbs should be carefully examined to check if they are stiff or suffering from any muscle constraints which could be affecting his balance and ability to start taking a few steps
  • An examination with a pediatric neurologist must be booked to rule out any brain development issues
  • A developmental paediatrician will also be able to assess language and motor skills
  • Surgery or physical therapy may be recommended should there be a medical diagnosis of a health related problem

At home you can aid your toddler in his development by carrying him less often and urging him to play in different positions. Try kneeling or crawling over cushions or helping him to stand while you support him. This will contribute and help stabilise his co-ordination, balance and develop his strength and confidence to start taking those first steps.