24 answers

My 16 Month Old Won't Walk

My son refuses to walk! I believe he is scared to fall. When he realizes he isn't holding on to something/someone he slowly lowers himself down to the ground. He will hold my or my husband's hand to walk, runs around with a walker, can pull himself up, can crawl up/down stairs. We have tricked him into taking a few steps here and there but can't get him to make the jump. The pediatrician says he is strong, has good muscle tone & that we shouldn't worry, but.... I am starting to worry. I noticed recently that his feet point out when he walks, I assumed this was for balance but now not so sure. Any suggestions for how to get him over his fear?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I wanted to let everyone know that my little guy started walking last week! Just in time to visit my mother-in-law. He is still struggling with balance and the way he stumbles around it often looks like he might have gotten into the wine ;) but he isn't afraid anymore. Thank you all for your great responses and encouragement. I shared them with my husband and knowing that we weren't the only ones with this issue really put us at ease.

Featured Answers

Pleae think about calling early intervention. they are wonderful and you will feel more at ease after talking to them. You are a great mommy for thinking fo all this!
Good luck

The age range for walking is different for boys than girls. Boys take more time with things like walking, potty training, and talking. Don't compare him to girls or to what the internet says is the age range for kids, because they are using a generic range and boys generally fall on the later side of it and/or after it. If the ped says he's fine...he's fine. Don't worry he'll be walking in no time and you will be regretting wanting him to learn. You spend the first years trying to get them to walk and talk, and the rest of their lives trying to get them to shut up and slow down. LOL!

More Answers

Hello M.,
I know exactly how you feel. I am also a first time mom that has a late walker. Although my daughter started to walk at almost 15 months, she had all the signs your son has. It is actually "normal" for the little ones to start walking between 16-18 months. It seems that most little ones walk sooner, but that's just cause they are eager and ready to jump ahead of the gang. I found that my daughter was also scared of walking and did the exact same things your son does, but then just one day, she decided to take off...she hasn't looked back since. Try having your son walk between people (like your husband and yourself). So he can walk from one person to the next. Maybe even hold an interesting toy in your hand so he is more interested in the toy and he might not realize he's walking. I did this in a triangle with three people and that's when my daughter took off. She had so much fun. Even though I had done this before with my husband, she wasn't too interested at that time. Maybe it was more fun with three people...I don't really know. I found that when I would try to make my daughter walk, she refused even more. I would cheer her on when she did stand and when she walked holding on to things so she would get the confidence to walk on her own. You'll see that when he's ready...he'll walk. I'm pretty sure that when he starts walking...he will just take off like my daughter did. It's cause they are so ready to walk, they are just a little scared. So when he does walk...watch out, he might even go from walking to running. Just keep cheering him on and encouraging him. As for the feet thing...my daughter does the same and so does my niece (who's one month older than my daughter). I think it is for balance as they waddle around and once they really get the hang of it, they'll straighten out. I hope this helped and everything works out. Even though you are a bit worried now...once he starts walking...you'll ask youself, "now how do I get him to stay still?!"

I am in the same boat! My son is 16 months & refuses to walk, I've been told it is normal & he will walk on his own. He does take steps here & there & holding mine or my husbands hand & that's it. I have 1 older son who was taking steps prior to 1yr & actually on his own at exactly 1 so obviously that is what I have to compare to. Plus I don't know anyone who has a child that walked this late, but I am told to try & not compare. So as I've been told- no worries! And I would like to know if you get any helpful hints!

Assuming everything is fine (if you're worried have him checked for YOUR peace of mind), has he been playing with other kids his near age or older - at the park or play dates? My son is 15 months but has a big sister (5 yrs) and tries to copy everything she does (not always good).
When we go to the park he watches all the kids and then tries to do what they're doing.

Your Ped. is right not be worried at this point. The age range for walking is quite large (9 mo.-18 mo.)so your son still falls in that range. Also he is showing that he has the muscle strength and the ability to do it but he just isn't ready to take the full plunge. I have know many children who didn't fully walk on their own until 18 months old and today they are fine! If you are still concerned, one of the previous moms suggested calling Early Intervention which would be a good idea to give you peace of mind. Continue holding his hand and walking with him and maybe get some push toys as well.
Once he starts walking there's no turning back :) Enjoy your strong little man because this stage won't last too much longer soon you'll be running after him!

Your worrying and fussing over it may be exacerbating the problem. If your pediatrician says he's ok then relax and let him take his time. You can't control him in that way and it will only lead to problems with other things. Parents get too ego invested in their children doing things by a certain time.

First of all don't use the walker no more, take a walk with him holding his hand every day or more than one time a day until he fields that he is strong to walk on his own, and encourage him to walk having him walk to something that he likes, like a toy or his bottle or something he wants.

Try taking away the walker. Walkers actually inhibit learning how to walk and can, in some cases, cause certain muscles to overdevelop and some to be underdeveloped. He might have more motivation if it's not available. Good luck!

I hate to tell you, you can't "teach" or "trick" him into walking. He will walk when he is ready. My oldest son didn't walk until he was almost 18 months. He is eleven now: plays basketball, football and runs. Enjoy him at every stage, things change so quickly. : )

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