Lessons From My Late Walkers

Baby milestones are a unique thing. As moms, we are constantly waiting for our child(ren) to do the next cool thing, but then at the same time we want them to never grow up. We can’t wait for them to start communicating with us, but then they never are quiet when they do start talking. Anyone with me on the “Why?” questions constantly?! We want them to potty train so we don’t have to buy diapers anymore, but then we still have to wipe their butts!

Walking is another huge milestone for kids and parents. We’re so excited when our child starts walking, but then they are into everything! All milestones have a range of “normal,” but for whatever reason, it’s often viewed by outsiders that most babies walk around the time they turn one. When your child isn’t walking yet, mom worry kicks in. You begin to wonder if something is wrong with your child. Your mind starts wandering to the worst and you break out the Google searches.

Lessons From My Late Walkers

My first daughter didn’t walk until she was close to 15 months old. As I write this, I have an almost 16 month old who isn’t walking independently yet. I was confident that my second daughter would walk earlier than my first, but no such luck. My mom worry and Google searches didn’t disappear this second time around (in fact they are probably worse).

My late walkers have taught me a few things:

Have patience!

I have very little patience with anything in life. God gave me late walkers to play a joke on me. My kids being late walkers have caused me to be more patient or at least work on my patience. One thing I’ve learned is kids are the ultimate patience tester!

Kids do things on their own time.

While my second has taken a step here and there, she continues to take her own time to master the skill of walking independently. My first was the same way. There was nothing that we could do to get her to walk on “our time.” This trait of doing things on their own time continues into toddlerhood, when they have no sense of urgency in anything they do.  

You can’t force anything.

My second child will stand on her own for a good minute, shake her head “no” when we say, “Come here!” Then, squat down to crawl. She’ll “walk” holding on to one FINGER, but refuses to take independent steps. Even practicing her skills is a struggle at times. If she doesn’t want to do it, she will shake her head and blob down on the ground to crawl. I’ve realized things have to be her idea, and it’s a much better situation to not force things on her!

There is wide range for normal.

Despite what all of your Facebook feed stories from friends or comments from strangers say, the normal range of walking is anywhere from 9 to 18 months. My kids didn’t crawl until they were 9 months, so I had a feeling they were going to be late to walk. I just didn’t think they would be this late!

Personality may have an effect.

Both of my children seem to be stubborn, cautious, and perfectionists. My second can do squats, but won’t take those steps on her own. I’ve learned that she has to perfect her skills before she will do them on her own. My first was the same way and still is ultra-cautious. Development often varies from each kid and motivation can play a huge factor in things.

Kids often choose to “excel” in one skill over an other.

While my kids have been later walkers, they have been early talkers (who don’t stop). Their fine motor skills have also been ahead. Kids that are stronger with verbal or fine motor skills early, tend to be later with gross motor and vice versa. It’s important to not compare your friend’s kid to your kid or even siblings to each other, as hard as it can be!

It’s important to note that if you feel your child isn’t developmentally progressing in the way they should  to talk with your doctor. Both of my kids pulled up, “walked” holding our hands, cruised all over the place, and even climbed on things. This made me know that they were developmentally progressing in the right direction. They just were stubborn and steps had to come on their time.

Was your child “behind” on a milestone?

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Elizabeth is a personable, outgoing mom living in Cedar Rapids and working as a high school counselor. She met her husband, Ryan, in high school, but were friends for several years. They started dating while they were both at the University of Iowa and have been married since 2009. After enjoying 5.5 years as a married couple with only a dog to be responsible for, they added to their family in November 2014 when their daughter Elin was born. They welcomed their second daughter, Myla, in October 2016. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys being outside, reading, traveling, attempting to be crafty, running, cheering on the Hawkeyes and spending time with family and friends. She’s loved seeing Cedar Rapids through the lens of a mom and all our city has to offer for families.