These little ones have so much learning to do their first few years of life, it continually amazes me how fast they’re able to catch on to things. So while my almost 15-month-old still isn’t walking (don’t worry, I’m not worried), he is working extremely hard at practicing his walk. This past weekend we took him out to the park so he could have some wide open space to put his new push walker to use. Within minutes he had caught on and got the idea of this thing called walking. Now, is he walking on his own yet?
Well, he is still not any closer to walking on his own yet, and I wasn’t expecting him to be. I love the vast options of physical toys out there to help encourage development and practice things like fine and gross motor skills, but the one thing we parents need to remember is that milestone development all comes down to the baby.
Some babies walk brilliantly from the get-go, and hit the ground running. Some babies can’t seem to get the hang of self-feeding until they’re well over 2 years old, no matter how much we make them practice with those easy-to-grip utensils. And still, some babies never roll over much, or with great ease, even with the best play gym, with all the bells and whistles hanging from it. Because in the end, a baby’s body is going to learn to perfect things in its own time.
Toys and contraptions that encourage physical development and advancement are wonderful things I would never give up, but I would never rely on them to make my baby do something before he or she is ready. Our play gym was wonderful in that it created a soft space for my newborn to lay while I was cooking dinner, and gave him plenty of interesting things to look at and hold his attention. But it never got him to be much of a roller. And the same goes with this cute little walker. It’s fantastic at getting him to practice walking a bit, and enjoy being outside, but I’m not expecting it to have him walking on his own any time soon.
For some babies, these toys can and do advance physical development, but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t get your little one rolling, crawling, walking and self-feeding on a specific time frame. It really is true that babies go at the their own pace, and no matter how amazing a toy is, it may not move the process along. So enjoy your baby, enjoy the new toys he or she accumulates at each holiday and birthday, and play with them freely and with enthusiasm. Let go of any expectations and just enjoy. Now, if I would have just learned that two babies ago, we would have all been a little happier.