Monday, January 23, 2012

Resistant Walkers

I was talking to my friend the other day and she was joyfully telling me all about her grandchildren. Someday I'll hopefully be a grandparent too but I'm not rushing it. I'm enjoying seeing my kids take responsibility for themselves as young adults, and when they're really ready for a family of their own I'll be ready to be a grandparent. However, I do enjoy hearing
from a grandparent's perspective.

My parents were incredibly supportive and encouraging as grandparents, both for me and my children. Every now and then in a child's life there is a time for a little encouragement, a little push, and they seemed to know when and how to do that. I hope I'll be able to do that for my kid's and grand-kid's, without being too pushy!

My friend and I were talking about her 15 month old grandson's reluctance to walk. That's not so unusual, and it's not a serious concern for now, as long as he's attempting to walk by 18 months. However, some babies do need more encouragement than others. The question is, should you, or should you not, push them a little? If you decide they need a little boost in this area, how do you do it?

In my opinion the question to answer first is, "Why has my child not started walking?" Many doctors will just tell you not to worry about it, that they will walk when they are ready (and if they don't, we'll deal with it then). That's good advise in order to relieve a mother's stress, especially when most of the other babies you know are walking. However, it doesn't hurt to examine some other factors that may be influencing your baby's reluctance to walk, to see if you should help them along.
  • Personality - (psychological) Perhaps their personality is not so adventurous, or perhaps they don't enjoy change. My third child was like this, he even resisted diaper changing. In this case you will want to appeal to some other aspect of their personality in order to encourage them. My two older children encouraged their baby brother to walk so he could play better with them. Every day for a week they took his hands in theirs, did a little practice by walking him to an object to play with, and then gave him lots of claps & hugs for progress. He took his first solo steps at the end of that week.
  • Security - (emotional) If there are other changes going on in the family sometimes a child will hold on to a behavioral pattern out of a need for security. For example, if you have just moved, started daycare, or started a new job that has changed your schedule, your child may be momentarily feeling too insecure to begin walking. This is what was happening to my friends grandchild, the whole family had just moved and both parents had new jobs, even though the mom is working from home. In this case the child just needs a little more time for life to adjust to the new routines.
  • Physical issues -  If the doctor says your child is healthy and rules out any major physical obstacles, you may still want to consider whether your child is getting enough exercise. Perhaps your baby could use a little more stimulation to move those arms and legs. Do they get enough crawl time? Do they spend too much time in car seats, strollers, play pens or their crib? Do you have a bouncer or Exer-Saucer that they can jump in to strengthen leg muscles? You can also do gentle arm & leg exercises with them while they're laying on the floor or bed, they'll probably really enjoy this game.  
Regardless of what the reasons are, if it's difficult for you to keep lifting your child, and you are stressed about the fact that they are not walking yet, there's no harm in gently encouraging your child to walk such as in the examples above. I emphasize gently, because your child will resist any frustrated or agitated attempts to get them to walk, and it may set them back even further. At the same time, a child who notices the benefit of walking to get what they want, and the joy it brings to others, will more likely try harder.

Do you have a late walker or an early walker? Did you help them along? Share your experiences on this topic in a comment below.

3 comments:

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  2. Thanks for sharing it dear, like it.. and i want to tell you that i am study about Psychology, and finding some relevant answers.

    Psychology

    ReplyDelete

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