Physical and Mental Readiness
Babies now learn to walk, making the rite of passage from babyhood to toddlerhood. Babies begin to walk when their muscular structure and nervous system are developed and mature enough to sustain the physical toll of walking, and when they're psychologically ready to brave the challenge. Certain babies may shy away from the attempt, because they are either naturally inclined to be more cautious or lack self-confidence. Encourage your baby by offering to push a stroller and be there for the process, but of course, there's no need to force the issue: all healthy babies learn to walk when they're ready for it.
The "Duck Walk"
Learning to walk is a process. Initially, toddlers rock from side to side – a real “duck-walk” imitation! In an attempt for balance, toddlers walk with straight legs slightly spread apart, the feet pointing outwards and with fisted hands turned outwards. Once feeling safe, babies bring their legs closer together, point their feet forward and release the previously tense arms and hands, putting them to the sides of their bodies.Stopping is no less an acquired skill than starting – babies gradually learn to stop and change direction. Learning to walk naturally entails a fair amount of falling, which makes for an important learning experience. As hard as it may be, when your baby falls, gauge the situation and intervene only if help is really needed.
Other Milestones: Sitting and Climbing
Sitting and climbing come with the territory too. Toddlers can now sit themselves on a small chair – relaxing or playing. Climbing stairs is an intriguing activity: at first, toddlers climb steps one step at a time, with both feet resting on a single step; they descend in a backward crawl.