S.B. asks from Arlington, WA on April 25, 2008
17 Month Old Will Not Walk
My son will be 18 months old on May 16 and doesn't walk. He didn't crawl on his hands and knees til about 11 months and up to that point had did an army crawl. In February he started walking on his knees. That's all he ever does now!!! I try putting him on his feet and he is steady and will stand there alone if you let go. Also, he will walk if you hold his hands and walk behind him. Just this week he started letting you hold on to only one hand and he'll walk. Most times that I try and get him to walk he will pitch a fit and just get down on his knees and walk like that or crawl.
This is driving me crazy!!! I feel silly that he's as old as he is and big enough but not walking. Not to mention the fact that he is too heavy for me to be carrying all the time!
Any suggestions??? I really feel like this is stubbornness and maybe a little lack of confidence on his part. He will walk behind toys and anything with wheels that'll roll. He's been cruising the furniture for months. I'm to the point where I just leave him behind to cry and walk away. Today I had him outside trying to get him to walk and all he wanted to do was crawl. I told him if he didn't walk with me (as I'm struggling to get him to put his feet on the ground) that we'd go inside. We're inside now and he's actually spending some quiet time in his crib.
What should I do??? I really want him to start walking!
C.D. answers from Seattle on May 10, 2008
hi S., do not worry and let him creep and crawl as long as he needs to ,these are developmental movement patterns that build the deep parts of the brain.It is a very precious time for kids to go at their own rythm.Spend time with him on the floor and relax. C. Demange
J.R. answers from Seattle on May 02, 2008
My son didn't walk until he was about 19 months (steadily by around 20)...many people told me to take him to physical therapy, the ped. said don't worry...i didn't and he is now 2.5 and walking just fine!
C.N. answers from Yakima on April 28, 2008
some boys don't walk untill they are 2 or more years old. I would have his doctor look at his feet and lower leg bones. If all is good then look when he is trying to walk does he use right foot and left arm swing, does he use his same arm and foot togther. he should use the oppsit arm and leg. crawling teaches that. you can try teaching him to crawl make a game out of it. Walking around holding on to everything is a start but does he do most of that buy walking sideways? or does he only hold on with one hand and walk forword with a regular steep. He may just not be ready mom. and thats ok two. I have five grandsons and one did not get off his bottom till he was 2 1/2 and oh boy did he make up for lost time. He is 11 now and doing great.
Good luck Nana (C.) PS. I'm bad at spelling but I know that you can get it
A.S. answers from Eugene on April 26, 2008
It sounds like he's just fine, just a little later to walk than the average, but still well within normal range. I wouldn't push him to walk, but you could help encourage him in that direction in small ways, like giving him something fun to hold onto, holding his hand, taking a couple of steps back and forth between you and somebody else, and walking with push toys. It really sounds like he's almost ready to take off on his own, but you trying to push him to do it before he's quite ready may be making it more difficult for him. This is not an important issue worth getting into a power struggle! I think it might help for you (and/or daddy - especially if daddy is more easygoing) to spend some fun time on the floor with him playing with getting around in different ways - army crawl, hands-and-knees crawl, walking on knees, walking (maybe even dancing!) holding hands, playing games like standup/falldown/laugh together (or ring around the rosie), making it a fun time. If he hasn't really done much hands and knees crawling, I might emphasize that at first rather than walking, as the cross-crawl is considered to be important for brain development. You might also check to see if there's anything he's been afraid of. My son held my hand for three months before he would let go and walk on his own, due I think to a rambunctious dog in the house and also a bigger kid who was sometimes rough with him. Or there could be something deeper about him not being ready to grow up as fast as you want him to. I do understand that it's becoming very frustrating for you, especially since he's heavy to carry, but it really sounds like he'll be fine and will be walking soon if you ease up and have some fun with him. It's so much easier for him (and feels safer too I'm sure) to get places faster by crawling, so it makes sense he would prefer that method for now. And the walking on the knees could be a good intermediate step he has discovered, where his center of balance is higher than in crawling but he still has more control and steadiness than he would in walking. Also, do you have soft places for him to land? You could spread out some blankets or something to make the floor softer, or lots of pillows for some fun standup/falldown time. I'd encourage you to enjoy him in his uniqueness, appreciating the creative ways he's discovered to get around in the world, while gently and with much fun encouraging him to discover other ways as well.
PS keep him barefoot as much as you can, bare feet are designed for walking - all the little muscles aid in balance. and for times when he needs to be wearing shoes, make sure you get good ones!
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T.B. answers from Seattle on April 26, 2008
Relax, as long as he's making progress towards the goal of walking he's fine. He's crawling, he's cruising, he's healthy, he's strong... Being a first time mom can be very nerve wracking, I worried about my son because he never crawled, he just scooted. He's 3 now, and he walks just like everyone else.
Your son will do what he needs to do when it's time for HIM to do it. He will not do it on your time table, or your neighbor's baby's timetable.
Before you know it, he will be walking, and you will wish you had to carry him everywhere again.
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A.W. answers from Seattle on April 26, 2008
It sounds to me like it is not the fact he can and won't walk, but the fact is he can't! ALL babies want to walk, but if they can't, they can't. Pushing a car and cruising furniture is not the same as walking. Continue to encourage him to walk with you, to you, and to watch other kids walking. You might want to even consider seeing a pediatric physical therapist for a short time to learn to walk (18 months is considered delayed!)
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K.W. answers from Portland on April 28, 2008
I agree with what the majority of the posters said here--don't worry, some are just later walkers. I suppose for every early walker there's a late one, and you and I have the late ones!
There are more than a dozen recognized crawling styles and it always seems that the late walkers go for the oddest styles, drawing even more attention to themselves LOL!
My girl's 19.5 months and is just starting to wander a few feet at a time. She's big and strong and perfectly capable of walking, but for whatever reason feels better with a little support. She's been an "aggressive cruiser" for months now. I finally bought her a little walker toy so she can gain that last bit of confidence she needs, and she really enjoys that. Also, she does better barefoot or in one particular pair of shoes (high tops); children under 2 don't really need shoes, especially when learning to walk. And "no-slip socks" are no substitute for bare feet either.
I use positive reinforcement when she does succeed--which is easy for me, because it's thrilling to see her achieve this bit of independence. She gets excited and forgets her fear. Or a toy in her hand can help her forget, too. I went from a firm handhold when helping her walk to just a limp forefinger that she can clutch, and often she doesn't even lean on it.
Having her around other kids her age--who are walking, running, even climbing and having a great time--has been a big motivation for her.
Regarding physical therapy, it's not as scary as it sounds. Pediatric physical therapists can determine, in just a few minutes of watching your baby, what kind of manuevers will help them. We went to one at about 14 months who taught our baby a couple of good methods for pulling up and getting back down. It really was just a matter of simple mechanics--for example, keeping knees aligned under shoulders (instead of letting them slide apart) so that you can get up from a kneeling position. We're not talking about complicated exercises, therapy, braces, etc. but just showing them how to redistribute their weight so they can get up easily or whatever. Our ped and PT person both said--these bigger babies sometimes just have too much trouble hauling that big body up and down etc.--but since she's having no neurological trouble it'll come.
Bottom line, I wouldn't worry unless he's exhibiting any asymmetry in his movements or abilities. I know you're frustrated, but he knows it too and it's probably making him anxious...and resistant to even dealing with it. If walking is becoming an activity associated with tears and fear of abandonment, he's not going to be very motivated. Find something he can't resist and use it as a target for him, and cheer him every step of the way!
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S.T. answers from Portland on April 27, 2008
My daughter was the same way, perfectly capable of walking but wouldn't do it. She didn't walk until almost 17 months. On one hand I was worried about it, but on the other hand I was thankful that I didn't have to chase her all over the place. My doctor said it's normal for kids to not walk until 18+ months (especially if they have another way of getting around that works). If you're really worried about it they have those walking wing things (you can get them at Target) that make it so you can hold them up while not having to bend over. I had a friend that used them & her son was walking w/in a week. I think they're pretty cheap. I would say he'll walk when he's ready. My daughter is super cautious about everything-but when she decides to do "the task" she does it almost perfect. Maybe your son is the same way-he just has to make sure he can do it right before he tries. So get ready!!!
C.W. answers from Seattle on April 26, 2008
Hi, I have twin boys who are now 10. One of them walked at 12 months and one didn't walk until 19 months! I'll talk about the "late" walker. He was a very efficient crawler and it was just easier for him to get around quickly that way rather than slowly with learning how to walk. Your little boy sounds perfectly normal. He's cruising on the furniture and walking behind a wheeled toy. He's probably not being stubborn, he just doesn't have the confidence yet to go out on this own. He's probably crying out of frustration that he can't walk by himself yet...so both of you are frustrated. I took my son in for therapy sessions because I was so concerned about him and he really didn't need it, he started walking after two sessions...when he was ready. One thing that did help was to put a toy in one of his hands and hold his other hand. Then I let go of of the hand I was holding and the fact that he still had something in his other hand seemed to be "invisible" support. He could feel that he was holding onto something...it tricked his brain a bit. Your son will be walking SOON. Then it can drive you crazy having to watch his every move and keeping him safe. Enjoy! Babies don't "last" very long, they grow up so quickly. C. W.
J.B. answers from Portland on April 26, 2008
Patience is the key, and your love will provide it in abundance if you understand that every child is different, and there are no strict rules when something should or should not happen. Your son is taking his sweet time, and you just need to be patient since the pushing is not going to work, and he will just make conclusions that your love is conditional on him walking, or he will learn to use his behavior to manipulate you. Be patient, stay put, and let him grow out of crawling phase into walking in his own time. Don't worry, he'll do it. Don't judge him based on what's expected in our society. It is all statistics, and most of us fall out of statistical data in one area or other. Your boy is a beautiful, unique person, and let him do his own thing.
If you are interested in learning more about how to handle situations when you feel manipulated or angry, I would warmly recommend any book or tape by Love and Logic. They have a website, and I think their material is a must. The earlier you read it, the easier you life will be, in toddlerhood, as well as in adolescence of your son.
I hope this helps.
T.B. answers from Portland on April 26, 2008
Hi S. my dauther was a little slow with interest in walking as well. The one thing that I found would catch her attention was other children, her age, who were walking solo. She would stare at them and look at me like, Whats that? Do you take her to a park, or do you have a playgroup? That is the 1st thing I would suggest - increase your sons time with his peers - that may motivate him to try it on his own!