Tips on How to Get your Child to Walk

Children generally learn to walk on their own; however, some children need a little bit of assistance in order to take those first few steps. Below are some ideas on how to help encourage your little one to take those first few steps.

Tips To Encourage Your Toddler To Walk

  • Make sure that your child has plenty of ‘floor time’ so that they can use their bodies to explore their environment around them. Children that sit in bumbo seats, car seats or jumpers often are more delayed in their gross motor skills baby walkingbecause they rely on ‘containers’ to support them and their posture muscles do not have to work hard to support them. Pack-and-Plays and other play pens are great and safe place for your children to play in if you need some time to make dinner, fold laundry, etc.
  • When first assisting your child to walk, hold them higher on their trunk, like at their rib cage. As your child becomes more upright and stable, hold your child lower at their hips so they can use their core muscles to help their stability. Holding your child’s fingers above them can encourage a forward base of support and can lead to early toe-walking.
  • When a child is cruising at a coffee table, stand behind them so that they have to rotate their trunk away from the table. This will also help them lessen their support as they may take a hand off the table and stand more independently.
  • When your child is standing supported at the couch or coffee table, place a toy at their knee level and encourage them to squat down to get the toy. Repetitive squats will help strengthen their hip muscles and help them gain more stability on their feet.
  • Use a motivator, such as a puff , small snack, or favorite toy to motivate the child to walk to you. Stand just a few feet away from them on a carpeted surface so that they have plenty of support and traction.
  • When the child is inside, have the child just in a diaper when taking early steps. Bulky, winter clothing may be cumbersome and we want the hips and feet to move freely when learning a new gross motor milestone, such as walking.

Most children learn to walk independently between 10 and 15 months. If you or your pediatrician is concerned about your child’s development, feel free to contact a physical therapist at North Shore Pediatric Therapy for an evaluation.

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5 Ways to Know Your Baby is Ready for Solid Food

Since the holidays are just around the corner, you may be wondering if your child is ready to grab a plate and join you at the buffet! While there is no clear-cut age to start introducing solid foods, most young children independently begin to show signs that they’re ready to move past their typical pureed diet around the same time. You may receive the green light from your pediatrician to begin introducing solids, but also but watch for these signs, as these may indicate that your child is ready to move on.

Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Eat Solids:

1. Your child is gaining more gross motor control. When your child is able to demonstrate adequate head baby eating solidscontrol as well as stabilize their trunk when sitting, they are typically ready to tolerate a more complex repertoire of foods. While your child does not have to independently be able to sit on their own, they should be able to maintain an upright position when placed in a highchair without slouching or falling over.

2. Your child begins to show interest in what you are eating. Many young children may begin to watch others intently during meal times, any they may even attempt to grab items off of your plate! Young children may also become more interested in self-feeding, and your child may start to reach for the spoon when hungry, attempt to drink from your cup, bring a cracker or
cookie to their mouth, or place their hands on the bottle when feeding.

3. Your child demonstrates more oral-motor control. The most apparent sign that your child is ready for foods is when they lose the tongue thrust reflex. Rather than immediately pushing foods out of their mouth with their tongue, your child should be better able to manage the foods inside their mouth. Also, when your child begins to present with more tongue movement, such as back-and-forth and up-and-down when a spoon is introduced, they are indicating that they are also ready to move on.

4. Your child is on track for meeting feeding milestones. Observe your child’s behavior at play, as there are many signs to indicate that they are ready for a change in their diet. Some of these behaviors may include: an increase in hand-to-mouth play as demonstrated by orally exploring with objects, anticipation of spoon feedings, the transferring toys from one hand to another, the ability to “rake” toys and foods towards themselves, and the emergence of the pincer grasp.

5. Your child starts to not appear “satisfied” after breast or bottle feeds. During certain ages, children may insist on eating more than they typically would, but note that significant changes in their feeding patterns could also be related to a growth spurt. Some pediatricians will indicate that once children have doubled their birth weight, most children are ready to be introduced to solids.

Even though your child may present with many of the signs, they may still not be ready to tolerate the transition. Just remember to be patient, and speak with your pediatrician about any concerns you may have about moving to solid foods.

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Slings, Swings and Jumpers and Your Infant’s Development

In regard to the use of these devices I am of two minds, one as a clinician and one as a parent.  Let me present the evidence and then make my recommendations.


  • The primary concern about them decreasing the oxygen that your child can breath or suffocating the infant have not been proven through the research. baby in carrier Babies do have a decrease in the oxygen in their blood when being carried in a sling, but the same phenomenon occurs when placing a baby on their backs in a stroller.  This occurrence primarily affects pre-term babies.
  • The other concern about them putting too much strain on your joints and back may be avoided by following the instructions, and ensuring there is support around your hips.

Swings and car carriers:

  • These devices, by design, decrease the child’s ability to move which can keep them safe and in one place, but overuse of these devices have been shown to slow motor development.
  • Due to the position of the baby and the weight placed on the back of their head, prolonged use may lead to brachycephaly, a flattening of the back of the babies head.


  • Allow the baby to stand more easily by rotating their hips back and forcing a slouched posture which enables them to stand up before they have the core control to stand erect.  This rotation of the hips also changes the mechanics of their leg and hip joints.

With this information in front of me, as a clinician I can advocate the use of slings with very young babies who need that skin-to-skin contact, and with decreasing frequency of use as they get older.  I do not advocate the use of swings, jumpers and (outside of the car) car carriers as places to put babies.  Click here to read about the container baby “lifestyle”.

As a parent, I recognize the need for a safe place for your child while you do a sink load of dishes, or when trying to get a quick shower.  I can tell you that, at times, I have foraged like a ravenous squirrel for a place to safely put my daughter when making dinner, or a load of laundry that I trust she will be safe, and will prevent any screaming or crying (sometimes from her).  In these moments I see the need for a swing, or bouncy seat where she will be safe and contained.  I have used and loved slings and other carriers to keep her near me, and in emergencies, to assist her into that elusive state, sleep.

Overall, the BEST places for your child are: in your arms, or placed on their back or tummy on a safe flat surface.  Babies should be getting as much time on their tummy as they, and you, tolerate on a firm, safe surface.  Lack of time on their tummy has been consistently linked to slowed acquisition of gross motor milestones.

When you need a hands-free alternative, slings can be a great tool.  Regarding any other piece of equipment to put your child, my rule of thumb is: use as sparingly as possible, and the more concerns there are about your child’s development, hypotonia, torticollis, etc., the less you should utilize these pieces of equipment.

*Important safety note: Babies must always be placed to bed on their backs, and always use car carriers when in the car no matter how far.

The Importance Of Tummy Time For Your Baby | Pediatric Therapy TV

Today we interviewed a Pediatric Physical Therapist on why Tummy Time is so important for the growth and development of babies.

Click Here to read more about Tummy Time

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • The importance of Tummy Time early on
  • The risks of not doing Tummy Time
  • Milestones Tummy Time helps babies reach

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I am Robyn Ackerman, your host. Today I am standing with Bridget Zarling, a pediatric physical therapist. Bridget, can you tell us why tummy time is so important?

Bridgett: Absolutely, Robyn. Starting very early on in a baby’s life, they need to be on their tummy during playtime. What this does is establish strength within the baby’s neck, chest muscles, and arm muscles. If they are not on their tummy time they can have risk for plagiocephaly, which is flattening of the back of their head. Tummy time is also important for developing gross motor milestones in a baby’s life. They learn to crawl, roll, and even sit, the longer that they are on their tummy during playtime.

Robyn: Great. Thank you, Bridget, and thank you to our viewers. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at That’s

Beyonce’s Baby News | What Even Famous People Need To Do When Expecting A Baby

So Beyonce and Jay-Z are finally going to be parents. They are the wealthiest entertainers with a lot of connections. They seem to be experts in the entertainment business and everything music, but they are embarking on a whole new world. Do they have any knowledge on how to raise a baby or what normal development even looks like? No matter how famous Beyonce and Jay-Z are, they are still first time expectant parents.

Here are some tips on what research even rock stars need to do before bringing home baby!

1. Buy What to Expect When you are Expecting and What to Expect Your First Year and actually read it!  It details everything you, your partner and your baby will go through, month by month.

2.Google and learn about normal development and subscribe to a weekly email that reminds you what your baby should look like at every weekly stage. offers great weekly resources!

3. Log anything that looks or feels “odd” to you. Don’t wait. It never hurts to ask the doctor about something you are concerned or have questions about!

4. Find the best pediatrician for your family. Ask your friends, family and even co-workers who they go to. Find out who has proper bedside manner? Who returns calls fast? Who has a clean office?  You also want a proactive doc that will listen when you are concerned!
Most pediatricians allow expectant parents to come in and meet the staff and even “interview” the Doctors. Write down your questions beforehand and bring them with.

Sample Questions to ask the pediatrician are:

  • How often do you see a baby in the first year?
  • What is your policy on vaccines?
  • What are your weekend and sick hours?
  • Do you charge for after hour calls/walk-ins?
  • Do you see the pediatrician on well-visits or the nurse?

5. Play a lot of music for Baby in-utero and and even after birth and maybe you will raise another Beyonce or Jay-Z!