Category Archives: CRUISING

tips for baby motor skill development: cruising



Lucy is a rising star!

Lucy received a lesson at about ten months of age when she was confidently crawling and just beginning to stand.  By placing a toy on the seat of a chair, she would crawl close on her hands and knees, grab the seat of the chair with her hands (transitioning onto her knees), and then put one foot flat on the floor pushing it down to give her the power to stand up onto both feet.  She would stand with her feet wide, holding the toy, and looking quite jubilant!  Although she was standing quite well, we would like Lucy’s development to occur at as optimal a skill level as possible.  I knew giving a couple of bits of information to Lucy’s nervous system would teach her to stand with improved stability and balance.  This also better prepares her for walking.  When she crawled close to the chair, I observed that her knees were a bit wide from the crawling.  When she held onto the chair, I moved one knee closer to the other one, narrowing her base of support.  Now her thigh bones were directly under her hip joints, a much better place for supporting the weight of her body above.  Think about the support columns of a building: They sit in a straight line down into the ground.  When Lucy’s feet were wide apart, her torso was supported with slanted columns.

The second bit of information that I gave to Lucy’s nervous system was to firmly touch the center of her heel bones with my thumbs for a few moments so she could more clearly feel that part of her body, the part that generates the power to stand.  This is proprioception of her heels.  Lucy very quickly learned to bring her knees closer together before standing up and to push her foot down into the floor with more pressure, which uses her leg muscles in an improved way.  In only a few minutes, Lucy had it!  Her mother smiled and acknowledged that she was already standing better and appearing more stable and confident.  In one thirty minute lesson Lucy learned to stand with improved skill – another stellar caterpillar is born!

Alignment and Propriocepton

One of baby’s developmental stages is learning to stand.  This motor milestone is significant because it marks a transition from balancing the weight of the body on the hands and knees to only the feet.  The base of support changes from a wide base with four legs of support (two hands and two knees) to a narrow base of only two tiny feet.  Two details of the skill development are the proprioception of the heels and the alignment of the columns of support (legs and feet).  A baby who has a clear sense of her heels will use them more effectively, which invites the leg muscles to work immediately and with repetition builds strength.  A baby whose legs and feet are in a straight line under her hip joints will feel more stable and then develop improved balance – both necessary for the next developmental milestone of walking.  We can observe from Lucy’s lesson that a little extra information will assist baby in not just meeting, but in mastering a milestone.