Updated: Apr 25
As a parent, there are many moments in your child's life that you'll never forget. When your child smiles for the first time, sleeps through the night, says their first word, or eats their first solid food.
Though for many of you, seeing your child take their first steps is an unforgettable event.
It's an awe-inspiring feat every time.
It happens in an instant. One moment they are crawling or holding onto your hand while stumbling around and then the next moment they are picking themselves up, getting stable and then walking.
The body mechanics are pretty mind boggling for a child to walk. They need enough leg strength to stand up, balance on their two feet, and then coordinate the movement of putting one foot in front of the other, while maintaining balance with their upper body. They need enough core strength to hold their body up and maintain stability while walking. And when the baby is taller, their center of gravity is higher so it can require more time to do this.
My daughter is more than 12 months now, and has been taking a bit longer than her older siblings to walk on her own. I was starting to get a little concerned, but then I convinced myself to trust the process and that she'd walk when she's ready. My husband, my sons and I all tried to encourage her to walk by herself without holding our hands or fingers. We'd cheer for her and say "Come on, you can do it!" or try to slowly release our finger from her grip, but every time we released her finger she'd stop walking and sit down.
Then this morning, out of nowhere, without prompting from anyone else, my daughter pulled herself up from sitting down and just started walking on her own. Luckily I had my phone with me and I hit record. Not only did I get to see her take her first steps, but I also saw her fall down, and then with focus and determination get back up and walk again. At some point she lost her balance when she sat down and rolled over, and then got back up again.
I was relieved. She had taken her first steps. On her own, when she was ready.
Seeing this moment unfold was such a great reminder that:
Taking the first steps has to come from within.
In life, no one else can take those first steps for you. You have to take them.
You have to feel ready, build up enough confidence to believe you can do it. You may need to see someone else do it first. You can also just do it, but both your heart and mind have to be ready first.
This moment also taught me about the importance of being present as a parent so you don't miss out on too many special moments.
How to Help Others
Now that the holidays are approaching soon, if you're trying to help someone take the first steps (stop an unhealthy habit, change something at work, start a new healthy habit), just remember that the best thing you can do for them is encourage them and create an environment that gives them ample opportunities to take the first steps.
For they are the ones that *have* to take the first steps, not you. And once they take the first steps, celebrate their success and help them take the next steps and then the next ones.
The smile and delight on my daughter's face when she was walking independently was priceless.
Now that she's walking, it's a whole new ball game, but I'm excited about all the new milestones she'll experience and can't wait until we can go running together! I will continue to empower her and my family to take many first steps towards a healthy and well life.
If you could use some help taking the first steps to starting some new healthy habits, I invite you to check out SpringSpot. You can join one of our live specially designed fitness classes: Cardio+Core, Total Body Strength or Yoga Flow and be motivated by other students in class. Or try out some fun health and wellbeing learning activities with your kids. We would love to help you on your wellness journey.
Be bold and take those first steps!