TEACHING BABY THE MOTOR SKILL OF STANDING
QUESTION FROM A MOTHER IN CLASS:
My pediatrician recommended that we now set my 10 month old son’s toys up on the seat of a chair instead of on the floor in front of him so he will learn to pull and stand. But, when I do that, he gets frustrated because he does not know how to get back down. What should I do?
STELLAR CATERPILLAR’S ANSWER:
REVERSIBILITY OF THE MOTOR SKILL OF STANDING
He is still learning to crawl on his hands and knees, so he is not quite ready to stand up. When a baby learns to stand up, he must be able to reverse himself by returning to a hands and knees crawling position or a sitting position as he goes back down onto the floor. If those positions are not familiar to him he may feel a bit of panic. Wait a couple more weeks before encouraging the motor skill of standing. This will allow him time to crawl on his hands and knees which he is learning. You can discuss this with your pediatrician as well. Read some of our posts on cruising to see some videos of babies pulling up to stand, cruising, and then sitting back down on the floor again.
ALIGNMENT OF THE MOTOR SKILL OF STANDING
The hands and knees position also teaches his nervous system to place his legs under his hip joints. This develops excellent alignment. When he stands up his legs will be more stable because they will be more under his hip joints. You can also play a game with him where you place a box in front of him that is turned upside down. Put baby on his knees in front of it and teach him to play it like a drum. He will enjoy the game and it will be giving his system a clear feeling of placing his knees on the floor. This increases the familiarity of the position through which he will pass when going up and coming down from standing up.
BABY INDEPENDENCE AND MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT
He is only 10 months old. Many babies do not walk until they are 14 or 15 months old. He still has time. What is important is that he has time in each developmental milestone so he can benefit from what each motor skill teaches his body. Then when starts standing up he will be stronger, have improved alignment, feel more stable, and be more emotionally confident that he can get in and out of that postion on his own. This is independence.