Supporting your baby as they develop and learn to crawl and walk is important. Here are a few fun ways to make the process an enjoyable bonding activity for parents and children.

Be a cheerleader! The best way to help baby enjoy and progress from crawling to cruising to walking is to get down on your hands and knees and play like a baby. Sit a few feet away from your beginning crawler and dangle a favorite toy to entice baby to crawl toward you, all the while giving a reinforcing, “Crawl to mommy!” When baby crawls to their desired destination to grab a toy, notice the sweet, “I can do it” look on their face.

Enjoy helping the beginning walker. When your cruising baby is starting to let go with one hand, take that as a sign that they are nearly ready to experiment with walking. Try letting baby walk between two parents or caregivers, each holding baby’s hand, as the helpers slowly walk along with them. Or, walk with them between your legs and gradually let go with one hand, then the other. As baby practices their first solo steps, stand a few feet away, hold out your encouraging arms and give baby another reinforcing, “Walk to mommy!”

Enjoy walk and play. You will notice that baby soon learns that their developmental progress leads to having more fun. One of our favorite games was when we would stand facing our baby while our baby was holding a large foam ball. We would hold the other side in our hands. We would then walk backward, enticing baby to walk toward us, and then gradually walk faster. You should notice baby chuckling as they try to keep up the pace.

My wish is that you not only enjoy watching your baby go through crawling and walking styles, but also enjoy crawling and walking along with your baby.