Learning to walk is a unique stage in a child's development, from this article you will learn:

Few parents realize that even in infants proper foot development can be supported. First of all, do not limit their movements. Let your children move their legs freely and touch various textures with their feet. Do not put on too small sleeper or too tight socks. If the toddler doesn't walk yet, don't embarrass his feet with shoes. And let's touch the child's feet, massage them, kiss them, tickle them - children love it!

Correct foot development in infants.

kids walking shoes

Few parents realize that even in infants proper foot development can be supported. First of all, do not limit their movements. Let your children move their legs freely and touch various textures with their feet. Do not put on too small sleeping bags or too tight socks. If the toddler doesn't walk yet, don't embarrass his feet with shoes. And let's touch the child's feet, massage them, kiss them, tickle them - children love it!

Important: Let the child develop at its own pace. Don't sit or put your baby on his feet until he's ready to do it himself. Aids of any kind, i.e. walkers, jumpers, etc., are also a bad idea. Studies have shown that between 1990 and 2014, more than 230,000 children under the age of 15 months were treated for walker-related injuries in US emergency departments[1].

Learning to walk in the form of play.

learning to walk barefoot

Of course, a toddler who wants to walk but does not yet have the physical ability to do so can be a challenge, so what are the alternatives? You can support the child, as in every stage of its development. Preferably through play and without putting unnecessary strain on the little body.

Obstacle courses

Crawling, catching balance are excellent exercises to support your baby's development. Use everyday objects, such as pots and pans, mommy's pins, daddy's hat, wooden spoons to encourage your baby to walk over pillows, mountains of stuffed animals, and other obstacles. Such exercises strengthen muscles and allow the toddler to work the body, which is certainly needed for walking.

Barefoot sensory play

Take off your child's shoes, pour sand into a bowl and let them play. Trained feet are the key to proper walking. Very often toddlers don't want to walk because the ground doesn't suit them. Show your toddler what sand, grass, walking on wood, wet stones is.


Playgrounds have plenty of swings you can use. At home, you can rock your baby sitting or lying on a ball or encourage him to walk around furniture by placing pictures or suction cups on it.

Barefoot walking is the healthiest.

In the first year of a child's life, we are dealing more with specific motor development, preparing the foot to carry loads. It does not change the fact that from the very beginning we should take care of baby's feet. Initially, through their proper care, and later, when the child begins to take its first steps, the best exercise we can give it is walking barefoot..

learning to walk barefoot

Walking barefoot is nothing but a functional training for our feet. Sometimes you hear that walking on flat, hard ground is unhealthy. This is partially true. During constant, repetitive motion, our body is exposed to replicating the same movement, and this can lead to overloading of those muscles and joints that are invariably involved in the activity. This can lead to micro-trauma, or flat feet, when the activity is carried out on a surface that does not have cushioning properties such as concrete, asphalt, or even a treadmill at the gym. This does not mean that we should avoid the flat terrain, such damage usually occurs in people who are very physically active, who spend long hours repeating a given activity, and whose feet have been used to wearing shoes since childhood.

The situation is different for people from countries where the majority of the population walks without shoes. In Indonesia many men start working as rickshaw pullers when they are young, most of them walk barefoot for 30-40 km every day, mainly on paved roads. Many of them stay in this profession for 40 or 50 years and their feet and arches remain healthy and extremely strong.

Our body does not like static, so the healthiest thing for it is to walk on uneven ground, which forces the entire torso to balance. An area covered with grass or sand works great. When a child starts to learn to walk, it is best for him to have as much contact with the ground as possible, i.e. to walk on it with bare feet. Walking barefoot at home is not an obstacle, the situation becomes a bit more complicated when we want to go out with a child. Here with help comes barefoot shoes, the best alternative to bare feet.

Barefoot walking shoes, which means freedom with every step.

kids walking shoes barefoot

Barefoot shoes are those that fit the child's foot well without restricting its free movement. The sole is thin enough to give the child the best possible contact with the ground and flexible enough to maintain cushioning. Barefoot children's walking shoes are designed only to reproduce the physiological biomechanics of the foot, allowing it to grow properly. Thanks to its properties, it allows the proper reception of stimuli to stimulate the small foot. This is especially important with children, because their feet are just forming and they mature along with them all the time.

Muscles are largely responsible for the development and proper shaping of the foot, so footwear should be selected in such a way as to enable its full, physiological range of movement. Do not forget to choose the right size of such shoes. It cannot be too big or too small, because then it will not fulfill its function properly.

My child is not walking. When should I start worrying?

The CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that you see your pediatrician if your child is not walking at all by 18 months of age or has not developed a stable gait by age 2.[2]You may be concerned that even a slight delay in walking may indicate additional developmental and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism While the results of a small 2012 study showed[3] that early motor delays may be a risk factor for future communication delays in children at risk for autism, for children at low risk for autism, parents should not be concerned. There are many causes of walking delay in infants, these may include:

  • Developmental dysplasia of the hips;
  • Soft or weak bones (medically called rickets);
  • Muscular dystrophy

On the other hand, remember that sometimes a child simply needs more time than their peers to start taking their first steps, this does not necessarily have a direct impact on the child's development and health.

My child walks on his toes. Is that a bad thing?

Does your child happen to tiptoe and you wonder if this is a cause for concern? It is worth paying attention to, because toe-walking in children is not always associated with a disorder. Young children like to try different things. One of them is toe-walking. It can be observed in two-year-old children, who have already mastered the art of walking to a great extent. This way they practice balance and provide the brain with new stimuli. However, it is not a natural walking, because it uses about 53%[4] more energy and loads the wrong body regions, which are responsible for correct stepping.

little child walks on tiptoe

Walking on tiptoe only from time to time is natural, but when you notice that your toddler is doing it often, it is worthwhile to consult a specialist. The cause of the problem of frequent toe-walking may be a muscle tension dysfunction. When a child tiptoes, it generates increased muscle tension in the calves and thighs. This compensates for the decreased tension in the central part of the body. Toe-walking in children can be a sign of disorders such as autism, ADHD, or tactile hypersensitivity in the soles of the feet, among others. This was confirmed by a study conducted in Sweden[5]. Nearly 1,500 children were screened for a history of toe walking. The study lasted 5.5 years and confirmed that toe walking has a cause in neurological disorders. In children without the disorder, spontaneous toe walking disappeared by the age of 5.5 years.

It is worth noting that the longer a toddler walks on tiptoes, the more likely it is that he will introduce it as a habit. It is worth consulting a specialist in this matter - an orthopedist or physiotherapist, because the child may not even realize that it walks on tiptoes, and not on full feet. In conclusion, when a child walks on their toes it can be completely natural. Every toddler activity can be one of the stages of learning to walk, so we should let the child do it, but not giving up on watching the toddler closely.

Learning to walk by holding hands.

We are used to seeing children being led by the hand by their parent, however, not many of us realize that walking by the hand negatively influences the motor development of a child and its body. One-time leading a child by the hand certainly won't do him any harm. However, it is worth to let the child explore the world independently, move according to its own body rhythm. A child being pulled by the hands is bent, practically hangs on the arms, drags its legs behind it. Such a gait is not stable, it is not pretty and puts a strain not only on the spine, but also on the arms, neck and other parts of the muscles and bones.

Hand-holding a child and learning to walk
poprawna nauka chodzenia

The consequences of leading children by the hands can be serious. In case of girls, and later women, the problem turns out to be much bigger. Hand-holding may result in: anterior tilt of the pelvis, lumbar hyperlordosis, asymmetry. And what about body weight and balance? Do you remember when you were walking on the curb, waving your arms in all possible directions? Like a bird flapping its wings, you were trying to keep your balance. These are called balance reactions and defensive support. Hands are necessary when learning to walk, they help to take over the weight of the body, to balance, to protect oneself. A child led by the hands does not learn these skills because it does not have the opportunity to practice them. Defense mechanisms do not take place, and therefore the child is exposed to more falls in the future, although it seems that we protect them from them.

Your hands are a wonderful tool that will support your toddler in many other situations. In the case of walking, they can make your child dependent and discourage independent walking. Learning to walk must take time, allow your children to develop freely according to their rhythm. It is important that the child walks barefoot as much as possible, this will ensure proper foot development. Remember, holding a baby's hands forever doesn't give him self-confidence, it makes him dependent on a parent and his hands. Don't rush, wait. Soon the toddler will move on his own, and then you will still miss the crawling toddler.


[1] - Infant Walker–Related Injuries in the United States

[2] - Center for Disease Control and Prevention - Milestone moments

[3] - Relation between early motor delay and later communication delay in infants at risk for autism

[4] - The influence of foot posture on the cost of transport in humans

[5] - The Prevalence and Course of Idiopathic Toe-Walking in 5-Year-Old Children