Watching a child learn how to walk is fascinating. I recently had the privilege one more time as Lily moved from all fours to running on two legs.
Babies do best learning to walk barefoot. It allows them to use their toes to balance. Often new walkers who are first put in shoes will have a hard time for a few hours as they learn to use their feet differently. Shoes like Robeez allow a baby to have some (very cute) foot protection while still giving them full freedom to use their toes and flex their feet as they should. Gone are the days when doctors recommended still baby boots as first walking shoes!
As my children have learned to walk they have followed about the same progression of skills:
1. Pulling up, some crawl first, some don’t.
2. Pulling up and letting go without knowing it. The baby pulls up, and holds on to a toy and doesn’t realize that they aren’t holding on. When baby realizes he is standing he quickly sits down again.
3. Letting go on purpose to hold on to a toy or something else.
4. Cruising – baby realizes that he can get to a toy on the couch by scooting sideways along it.
5. Step-lunge-fall. These are the first real steps alone! Sometimes it is more like a dive with baby kind of catching himself with a foot as he begins to fall. After practicing this a couple days though, baby begins to learn that moving a foot ahead will help him to get where he is going and suddenly there is a lot less of the lunge-fall part.
6. Slow, tentative steps. Arms in the air for balance, baby really knows that he is doing what everyone else is doing and is excited to practice it.
7. Now baby is a biped! You notice that less and less time is spent crawling or creeping and more time is now spent upright. Then one day, baby stands up in the middle of the floor and crawling is left behind.
Now you have a toddler.