The Emotional Side of Walking

Walking isn’t just about being able to move one leg in front of the other. There are also a number of emotional effects that can cause a change of personality in your toddler or even anxiety. Learning how to walk can even affect other aspects of your toddler’s development.

Changing Personality
Do you remember what it was like the day you got your driver’s license? That little card signaled your entrance into adulthood. You could drive wherever you wanted. You had that freedom, that independence, and it felt great! To your toddler, learning how to walk is the equivalent of getting a driver’s license. It means that he suddenly has a much greater degree of independence than ever before. And along with this mobile expansion, his personality is able to expand and grow with it.

You may notice a change in your toddler’s personality once she starts walking. She may go from a laid back and easygoing baby to an exuberant and active toddler. Or, if she was somewhat quiet and cautious before she learned how to walk, she may become even more careful about where she steps now. And it is all thanks to her new found independence to explore her world in a new way.

Toddlers may also seem to be more anxious about leaving you behind as they take off on their journey of exploration. As much as your toddler wants that independence, it can also be a little scary to him at first. You will be the beacon that he gravitates towards as he begins to step out on his own. If he also seems to be crying more when you go out or is clingier when other people are around, it is likely that he will need some extra reassurance that movement is okay. Try playing some mobility games and make sure that you let him know when you’re going out for the evening.

A Road Paved With Speed Bumps
While your toddler may take one giant step forward in her development when she starts walking, she may also take two steps back with another aspect of her development, like talking. This setback is only temporary, though, as she focuses all her attention on her newly acquired skill. Once she feels more comfortable walking, the words will flow out of her mouth again. But continue encouraging all of her development, even if she puts one on hold for a few weeks.

It is also not uncommon for a toddler to put their walking on hold if they become sick or have a particularly bad fall while toddling around. If you notice your toddler reverting back to crawling after a nasty spill, allow him to err on the side of caution for a few days before you encourage him to try walking again. Who knows? He may just realize that crawling is not nearly as much fun as walking on his own.