If you feel your baby is almost ready to walk, you can encourage him with fun, interactive activities. Read on to learn about how to prepare and encourage your baby to walk without pushing him too hard.

Walking is a natural process and shouldn't be forced. Many babies take their first steps around 12 months old, with the age range varying from 9 to 18 months for most children. If your child is not at least pulling himself up to stand by a year old, talk to your pediatrician about an evaluation and possibly physical therapy.

Cruisin'

If your baby has been pulling himself up independently for months, it's time to start cruising. You can encourage your baby to cruise by lining up chairs against a wall. Place your child near the first chair and your child's favorite toy on the last chair. Stand near the last chair and wave a colorful scarf to encourage the child to move in that direction. Your child will likely start to cruise along to get the toy, scarf and you by holding on to the chairs.

We all fall down

When your baby can stand but hasn't yet taken his first step, you can play a game of Ring Around the Rosie. Hold onto the baby's hands and slowly walk in a circle, falling down gently on cue when the song says, "We all fall down."

Bubbles

All babies love bubbles. Get down on the floor near your baby while he is standing and blow bubbles just out of his reach. Your baby will likely want to reach the bubbles so badly that he'll risk taking his first step.

Safety first

When your child is learning to walk, it's very important to keep their safety in mind. Remove tables with sharp corners, put away breakable items and take out furniture that can topple over. Get rid of anything your little one can trip on, from electrical cords to loose carpet. Use your baby gate on stairs, lock away hazardous household substances and take other safety precautions. Your baby will be walking before you know it... and getting into everything.

More about baby development

5 Things you should know about your newborn's body
Baby development: The importance of crawling
Fun ways to chronicle your baby's development

Topics: 10-12 months 7-9 months

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