We recently shared the above photo on our Facebook page. This photo was posted by Kids Physio Group out of Vancouver and had the following caption: ‘If babies can pull up all by themselves, they are ready! So simple. Development of these skills comes through natural exploration of their environment. So here’s your challenge, don’t hold their hands regularly to promote early standing and walking. Instead provide levels in their environment to crawl to, pull up on and explore bridging the gap!’ We shared it because we love everything about the photo and the message it is promoting. After we posted it, we received a comment from one of our subscribers that led to the writing of this post.
The comment centered around the creation of the environment to encourage children to explore and crawl and pull up. The concern was that if we are saying that children will do this when they are ready and not because of being helped, isn’t creating an environment helping them? Yes it is. But the way we look at it is that we are creating an enriched learning environment for a child to help them learn their motor skills. This is the same as creating an enriched environment where they are exposed to reading and colors and shapes to develop their cognitive skills.
And, in the creation of this enriched environment you can still interact with your child and create motivation for them to explore. Maybe put their favorite toy further away from them so they have to crawl to get it, or put the toy up on the couch so they work to get closer to it. This is similar to what we tell families about tummy time. Tummy time isn’t just about putting the baby on their belly and letting them lie there, its about engaging and interacting with your baby while they are in that position. If you are looking for ideas of how to engage with your child starting at birth to enhance all developmental domains, check out 1-2-3 Just Play With Me from Milestones and Miracles. It is a great resource with really helpful information for families!
Just like in every scenario, in this one there are times that the message above may not apply. If kids have a developmental disability or developmental delay, they may need more help from an adult or a professional to learn how to complete the movements necessary for pulling to stand and exploring. However, for kids developing along a typical trajectory, don’t be in a rush to have them walk faster, let them master crawling and then pulling to stand, and then cruising, and then walking. Each step will build on the next one to give them a good foundation for movement, including strength in the muscle groups needed to carry them forward to each new step of development!
Hopefully, this was helpful and not confusing, but if it sparked new questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out, we love hearing your questions!