Children grow so fast. It is no wonder parents are constantly having to buy new clothes and shoes for their kids. You may wonder, how does a child learn how to walk? Well, this is a great question, but children do not simply learn how to walk, they actually just have a natural instinct that kicks in at certain ages in their life. Learning to walk does not happen by chance. Children will reach certain stages and milestones before they naturally learn how to walk. Naturally, parents are eager for their little one to take those first steps, but it is a process. Once the musculoskeletal system and neurological system are mature the child will then be able to start walking.
Children start off by learning to stand. They will often grab onto furniture and even start taking little steps along it while still holding on. This often happens a little bit before they turn a year old, but children can begin walking around 10 months all the way up to 18 months. They learn at their own pace and it may take some time to learn how to keep their balance. There will be some toppling over during this time and it will be noticed that children will use their hands and arms to break their fall.
As early as 6 months into walking, the child can become very good at it.They may get so comfortable with walking that they will even start to hold their arms down by their side and maybe even swing them a little bit. The heel will be the first part of the foot to step to the ground. This will be different from the flat foot stance they once were doing.
As the child grows so does their skills and the musculoskeletal system along with the neurological system will mature greatly too at this time. Soon the child will be able to run and start using stairs. Do not be surprised if you see him or her walking on the tips of their toes too. By the time a child is 8 years old, they will have a posture close to that of an adult including a gait too. It is amazing how fast everything can happen. A child goes from not being able to lift their head to walking around a year later. The musculoskeletal and neurological systems play a big part in this developmental stage of a child’s life. By the time a child is 8 years old, they will be just about the same as an adult’s posture or gait.
Taking the time to watch little ones grow is certainly a blessing. It is such a blessing to be a parent. These skills are important to a child’s development but do note that a child grows and matures in their own time. Do not try to rush the different stages, because they will arrive before you know it. It is always best to discuss with your child’s doctor if there is any concern that they are not reaching the milestones, as there could be other factors. Just know some kids mature differently.
We often get asked when it is a good time to start using orthotic shoes in childhood. Well, it will all depend on the issue. If a child has inherited flat feet or collapsed arches like parents, or other underlying medical concerns orthtotics can be started as yearly as 1.5 years old and often by 14 years of age the issue might be gone.