Getting into a standing position independently is a massive and exciting milestone for a developing child. The progression of developing this important skill goes from the child pulling to stand at support with their hands, to standing up with support at the hips, to standing up independently and hands-free. In this post, we will cover pulling to stand.
The height level of the support surface that a child pulls to stand is a big factor in determining successful standing. Generally, the higher the surface, the more support that it will provide, making it easier to pull into standing. Using the couch (with the seat cushions in place) is a common place to start. Place toys of interest at the elevated surface to draw the child’s attention. Ideally, this should draw the child towards the couch and crawl up the face of the couch and place them in a kneeling position with their hands on-top of the couch. From here, encourage the child to take a step forward with a foot into a half kneeling position, then stand up from this position. Hands-on support can be provided throughout these movements to help the child along. As this transition becomes easier, lower the support surface; this can be easily done by removing the couch cushions, and progressing to even lower support like a step stool. As the support decreases, there is more demand on the legs and balance to stand up, driving the strengthening process.
Once the child is up and standing at support, the previous activities discussed in the previous post can be easily practiced to bring together all of their skills. After they have spent some time standing and need a rest, the transition to the floor is essentially reversed: standing to half kneeling, and half kneeling to high kneeling.
Next post will continue with the theme of standing up, but this time without using the hands to pull for help.
By: Chris Dahiroc PT.
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