We often have parents come in and ask for us to help their child be able to stand on one foot better. Usually they have heard that this is a skill that all children should be able to do. But why? What does standing on one foot help with? Here are some of the skills that are improved when single leg stance improves:
- Going up and down stairs
- Kicking a ball
- Stepping over obstacles
- Getting dressed
- Standing up from the floor
- Walking with a narrow base of support (i.e. on a balance beam)
So what are some activities that could help your child to improve this skill? Here are a few:
- Toe taps – Place a spot in front of your child and have them tap their toe on it. Make it a game by calling out numbers to see how many they can do. Or switch it up between left and right foot. You can do this on the ground, or raise the height to make it more challenging. You can also move the target from in front to diagonal to the side.
- Foot on a ball – Find a ball and have your child try to hold one foot on top of it and maintain their balance. You can time them to see how long they can go for, or have two people doing it at once to see who can last the longest. Make sure to switch up feet. Softer, squishy balls are easier to balance while larger, firmer balls are harder to balance on.
- Popping bubbles – This one is fun because what child doesn’t love bubbles? Blow bubbles and have them try to stomp on them to pop them!
- Stepping over obstacles – Have your child try to cross a room while stepping over obstacles in their way. You can use small books, pool noodles, toys, groceries, or anything that you can think of. Shorter and narrower are easier than taller and wider. Also make sure it is a stable obstacle and not a ball that will roll if they bump into it. You could also use painters tape to make obstacles across your hallway so they have to step over varied heights of tape.
- Yoga – Tree pose is one of our favorites. Kids like to imitate it and they can ‘cheat’ by putting their foot down close to their stance foot if the knee is too challenging.
What are some ways you work on single leg stance?