Learning to stand up and walk takes many hours of practice
Typically developing babies spend many, many hours working at achieving each new step along the pathway to independent standing and then walking.
With practice and repeated attempts babies develop the strength and coordination to pull themselves up into standing from a sitting or kneeling position.
They learn to stand supporting with two, and then with one hand, to reach in all directions, and to bend the knees to sit down again.
Developmental milestones - with age ranges for each milestone
Premature babies, those with low muscle tone, joint hypermobility, developmental coordination disorder and autism may need extra help and encouragement to achieve the strength, flexibility and coordination for learning to sit with good balance.
Activities for encouraging standing and walking
Before you start
It is very important that your infant has been seen by a physician to check that the hips are healthy and that it is safe for your infant to engage in a program of exercises to strengthen the leg muscles for standing and walking.
If your infant has significant developmental delay, a referral for physical therapy is the ideal. However, if this is not available time spent training your infant can beneficial.
Gentle stretches for tight hip muscles
If your infant tends to sit, crawl or stand with the legs wide apart, you will need to spend some time working on increasing the flexibility of the hip muscles.
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Getting up into standing
Working on standing up from sitting strengthens the infant's leg muscles and trains coordination and control.
Improving balance in standing with support
Infants need to learn to balance in standing using one hand, and to shift their weight across the feet before they are able to take a step and start to crusie.
Standing with support and learning to balance
Some infants needs extra practice in order to learn to stand with support and reach in all directions.
Learning to bend the knees
Infants with developmental delay and joint hypermobility (low muscle tone) may need some extra help to strengthen their leg muscles and improve balance and coordination to get them ready for standing with support and cruising.
Stepping, cruising and walking with support
Once infants feel confident standing with support at a table, sofa or bed they start to step sideways holding onto whatever support they can find. .
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