Methods for Promoting Independent Walking
Parents frequently ask us for help in promoting independent walking for their child. At the Center for Motor Behavior & Pediatric Disabilities, we have learned that children who walk earlier afford themselves with more opportunities to interact with peers and siblings, encouraging further motor and cognitive development. The purpose of this section is to give parents suggestions for promoting independent walking, starting from the first few months of life through the onset of independent walking.
promotes leg strength
Crawl n Cruise Playground
provides motivating factor for locomotion, both crawling and walking
provides support during the middle and final stages of learning to walk
assists in walking, which in turn helps the infant become accustomed to
using upright locomotion as their primary mode of transportation.
Recommended: Little Tikes Walker
Clothes Pins / Toy Softball Bat
allows you to put some distance between yourself and the child as they
are walking with assistance
this distance will assist the child in becoming more confident and
comfortable in walking on his/her own
Remove Sofa Cushions
Sofas, in general, are too tall for children to grab on to for assistance
in pulling themselves up to a stand. Removing the cushions seems to alleviate
Once the child has pulled up to a stand at the sofa, the edge of the
sofa provides a good guide for the child to begin cruising.
Place toys and other motivating factors at standing eye level
Placing toys and other motivating items at the eye level of the child
when he/she is standing promotes independent standing
Once the child is able to stand on his/her own, eye level items will
be the motivating factors that will promote independent walking, as the child
begins to reach and try to attain these items.
Promote an Upright Posture beginning at an early age
Promoting an upright posture at an early age helps to improve leg
strength, a critical factor for independent standing and eventually walking
The early exposure to being upright also helps the child become
accustomed to this posture.
Promote Independent Functioning
Carrying your child too much will delay his/her ability to learn
independent locomotion, as he/she will become reliant on you
Take full advantage of the services offered to you through your IEP/IFSP
Know what you are entitled to through your school district or Early
Become actively involved in your child’s therapy
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