Physical – bikes, walking and the expectations around this
Your child will experience a number of milestones during their life but none as special as their very first steps. One day they’ll be crawling along the floor and the next, tottering into your waiting arms. Learning to walk marks your child’s first steps towards independence but when should you expect such physical activity? Here we take a look at physical milestones and what you should expect from your little one.
Your child’s first steps will be one of their biggest (if not the biggest) milestones in their life.
Walking – What to expect
During your child’s first year they will be busy developing muscle strength and co-ordination. They will learn various different moves including how to sit, roll over and crawl, as their bodies get stronger. Most children are able to stand by about 9 months, after which it is a case of them building their confidence and learning to balance, so they can walk.
Many babies take their first steps between the age of nine and twelve months old, however it is important to remember that this can vary. Some children will take a little longer to learn to walk and that’s okay. It may take until your child is fourteen or fifteen months or even sixteen or seventeenth months before they can walk properly. Babies learn skills at different times, so try not to worry too much.
Walking – Your role as a parent
When your baby is learning to pull himself or herself up into a standing position, it’s likely that they’ll need a little support when it comes to sitting back down again. Rather than just popping them onto their bottom, show them how to bend their knees so they can sit down carefully.
A great way to encourage your baby to walk is by standing or kneeling in front of them and holding out your arms. Let him or her walk towards you, whilst providing encouragement.
It’s a good idea to make sure all of the surfaces in your baby’s reach are strong enough to support them, as they’ll likely hold onto them when they are learning to walk. It’s also good to make sure that you have childproofed your home, as walking leads to greater curiosity.
You don’t need to buy your little one shoes until they are walking around outside. Keeping them barefoot will help to improve their balance and co-ordination.
Your little one may be able to ride a tricycle between the age of 3 and 4 years.
Learning to ride a bike – What to expect
The age at which a child is capable of learning to ride a bike will depend on their physical development, co-ordination and motor skills. Most children should be ready to ride a bike by the age of five.
Between the ages of three and four, your little one will go through a period of significant gross motor skill development. This is when they’ll learn how to balance on one leg, how to walk on their tiptoes and how to hop, skip and jump. During this stage, they will also be capable of learning how to pedal and use handlebars. Whilst they won’t be quite ready for two wheels, you can help them develop their skills by letting them ride a tricycle or a bicycle with training wheels.
Between the ages of four and five, most children will have lost interest in their tricycle and will want to move onto bigger and better things – like a big girl or big boy bike! At this stage, they should have the balance and coordination required to operate a bicycle without training wheels. It is however essential that they understand the importance of wearing a helmet, as to avoid high-risk falls and injuries.
Watching your child learn to walk and teaching them how to ride a bike will be two of your most treasured times together in life, so make sure you enjoy every minute of it.