Purchase a push toy for your baby to use to practice walking. It may be helpful to secure a small weight, like a velcro hand weight, to the base of the toy for added support. A push toy is great to get your baby moving around. It will help him learn to balance, strengthen his muscles, and it may just give him the confidence he needs to start walking.
Do not use a baby walker. Baby walkers are different than push toys. A baby walker is an enclosed toy with a tray or bumper around it and wheels on the bottom. Your baby sits inside the walker and pushes himself around with the help of the wheels. A baby walker will not help your baby walk and may actually discourage him from learning to walk. In fact, in Canada they were so concerned about the safety of baby walkers that they have been banned from being advertised, imported, or sold. The AAP strongly discourages the use of baby walkers as well, and has attempted unsuccessfully, to get a similar governmental ban of them in the US.
Hold your baby’s hands while he walks. You can kneel in front of your baby and hold his hands while he walks around the house. Once he is comfortable walking with two hands you can try holding just one hand while he practices walking. Another trick you can try is to kneel in front of him holding a broom handle (or something similar that is sturdy) for him to grab onto. Let him use the handle for support while he practices walking.
If your baby is having a hard time walking with shoes on, try ditching the shoes for a while. Babies sometimes have a hard time balancing and learning to walk with shoes. Most babies have an easier time walking when barefoot so save the shoes for outdoor play.
Should I be concerned if my baby isn’t walking?
Not every baby will learn to walk at the same time. Some babies will start walking much earlier than others for various reasons. There is no reason to worry if your baby is under 18 months and not walking yet. You may find your baby is developing right on track with his speech and language milestones, but a little more slowly with his movement milestones. Some babies will make faster progress with language skills and others will do better with motor skills. As long as your baby is making steady progress with his milestones, there is usually nothing to worry about. However, if your baby is 18 months and is still not walking, you should talk to your doctor. He may recommend early intervention services or physical therapy for your baby.