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Walking is a typical developmental milestone that every parent loves to see. However, walking backward is on a different level, as it indicates improvement. There are different rates at which babies develop; for some babies, it takes a little while before they take their very first step, while others are quick to learn how to walk.
Building the confidence to walk backward can take a while, so it is expected that the toddler masters the act of walking before advancing to moving back. Most parents are very eager to know how long it will take for their toddlers to adopt this gross motor milestone because of how much it contributes to the child’s development.
We must all understand that when it comes to new developments in kids, especially toddlers, a lot of patience must be exercised, even when your toddler keeps saying mummy all the time for no reason. This will help prevent you from getting all worked up about things even when you shouldn’t.
Quick answer: Toddlers are expected to attempt to walk in reverse from the age of 16 – 18 months. At 24 months, it is common for them to have built a certain level of confidence about it. However, it is essential to be there for your child to help encourage them every step of the way.
In this article, we will review how walking backward can help improve toddlers’ growth and development over time and ways you can encourage your child to walk backward. Now let’s get started.
Why Walking Backward Is An Important Developmental Milestone
Developmental milestones are critical behavior or physical skill in kids; it indicates that they are growing and developing. And just like being able to toss and turn in the crib, say a few words, crawl, talk, and walk, learning how to walk backward is just as important, and here is why;
1. Improves Balance
Walking backward can help your child improve their balance. This is because walking backward is a lot harder than walking forward, and when your child constantly practices this, they will generally get better at walking without a fear of falling. Taking backward steps improves your toddler’s stamina and stance.
2. Ensures Safety
Their balance will improve when toddlers take walking backward as a constant practice. Their mind gets active as they become fully aware that there is a risk of falling, so they devise techniques to prevent them from losing their balance and falling. They develop preventive measures to keep them safe from falling.
3. Sharpens Their Thinking
To remain on their feet while walking in reverse, toddlers put their minds to work. This comes hand in hand with ensuring their safety. It helps toddlers focus better and facilitates the development of the neurons in their brains. Reverse walking helps toddlers put their proprioceptive sense to use without having to see where they are moving to.
4. Muscles Development
Taking steps in reverse helps develop the muscles that are not normally put to use when walking forward. These muscles are exercised in the process and improve the overall mobility of the toddler. Due to this, other developmental milestones, such as dancing, jumping, kicking, and climbing, are quickly activated.
Helping Your Toddler To Walk In Reverse
Your child might not be confident enough to walk backward without your help. And this process may be a little bit less tricky than helping them to stand on their feet and then eventually walk. The following are useful tips that you can use;
For the first few attempts, stand close to your toddler to support them and prevent them from falling. Make sure to hold your child’s hands every step of the way till they show signs of improvement.
Get a stroller or a cart for your child. Allow them to lean on it while you carefully push them forward, then slowly push the stroller backward so they can recover their steps by moving back. Only walk with them holding their favorite toy; you can start walking backward while they move forward before switching positions.
Use a pull-string toy to encourage them.
It is very common for toddlers to start attempting to walk backward between the ages of 16 – 18 months.
In several ways walking backward can help improve your developmental milestone by improving your balance, strengthening toddlers’ leg muscles, and sharpening your reasoning, among others. However, toddlers still need support in their first few trials of walking in reverse, they also need to be encouraged to boost their confidence while attempting to walk backward.