Children are inquisitive creatures. Their hunger for learning and exploration can never be satiated, especially if they are below the age of 5. They want to touch, feel, and experience everything around them to satisfy their curiosity.
As a parent, you must feel overcome by the fear that your child might hurt himself while being busy on the exploration site. Many parents make the mistake of trying to stop their children from exploring their surroundings to prevent them from hurting themselves.
A common example of this case would be not allowing the child to go near the staircase.
While this technique may work when you are around your toddlers. But, the minute you leave them alone their next destination would be to go on the stairs.
Instead of preventing the child from climbing the stairs or to go near them, help them to achieve this milestone with confidence and proper body balance.
Making your kids learn how to climb stairs safely is a win-win situation for both, the kids and the mothers. If your kid learns how to climb stairs safely then he’ll be confident to take the flight of stairs not only when he is at home but also, in a public place, such as a library, school, etc.
And as for mothers, they can be sure that once their child has learned climbing stairs he’ll be safe and won’t fall off.
If you are mustering the courage to help your baby learn how to climb the stairs, then we would recommend you to understand the stair-climbing milestones according to the age of the baby.
It will help you to understand when your baby is ready for climbing stairs and what assistance you can provide him.
When a baby turns 9 months old he is well adapted to crawling and tries to stand up with support. By the age of 11 months, if he is exposed to stairs, he will use the same crawling method to climb up the stairs by getting down on his arms and knees. At this point, he is not confident enough to climb down the stairs.
By the time a baby turns 14 years old he walks around their environment without any support. He has greater balance and stability. However, when he comes to the stairs, he uses the crawling method to climb the stairs.
17- 20 Months
After having enough experience of crawling up the stairs, a toddler becomes less scared to climb on the stairs by crawling. He stands up and starts to climb the chair with constant support.
Around this time most of the babies master the art of climbing up and down the stairs. Provided they have had enough experience. They can walk and balance themselves on the stairs. They still need to hold railings to support themselves.
After completing 2 years a toddler becomes proficient enough to climb the stairs without fearing or losing their balance. The majority of the kids do not need support to climb the stairs.
So, if your child has just started to walk or crawls down on the stairs, then maybe it’s not the time for your child to take those flights of stairs yet.
However, your child will still go near the staircase to experience climbing on it by crawling. Don’t worry, install a safety gate at the top and bottom of the staircases.
Safety Gates On Stairs
To avoid having any accidents on the staircase when the baby is climbing the stairs, it is best to install a safety gate on the top and bottom of the staircase.
Just leave the bottom three or four steps ungated so that your baby can practice without climbing any further.
The safety gate that you install must be 22 inches high and should have a maximum of 2 to 3 inches of space between each vertical bar. It will prevent the chances of the baby to stick his face, arms, or legs.
You can get these gates removed when your baby has mastered the art of climbing up and down the stairs or when your little master learns how to open the safety gates.
Helping Kids Learn To Climb Stairs Safely: Nine Effective Tips
Wondering how to help your child to make him learn to climb the stairs safely? Well, as difficult as it may seem, we assure you that it’s not.
With these 9 simple and effective stair climbing tips listed below, your baby will learn to confidently take the flight of stairs without losing his balance or making himself hurt.
1. Practice On A Step Stool
The idea of making the child practice on an actual staircase may send a shiver down the spine of parents. If you are not comfortable bringing your child on a staircase before he’s had enough practice then get a step stool.
Make your child stand on it and ask him to step down. Repeat this several times a day. To avoid making it boring and monotonous, make it interesting for the baby so that he is excited about this activity and not disinterested.
Place the step stool against a table or any other elevated surface. Keep some treats such as candy, fruit slices, favorite toys or other toddler essentials. Ask the baby to step on the stool and retrieve the item on the table.
If your baby enjoys this, take this activity to the next level by keeping more items on the table and an empty basket nearby. Ask the baby to step on the stool and collect all the items one by one and keep them in the basket.
Another exercise to do by using a step stool is to make a baby sit-up on the stool and ask him to get up to pick the items placed on the table. Instruct him to only use his legs for pushing himself. This will strengthen their lower body and trunk musculature.
2. Bicycle Kicks
Do you feel good after a light workout session? Do you feel energized and awakened muscles? Well, time to make the baby feel the same thing.
Relax! You don’t have to get a gym membership for your little one. All you have to do is to make them exercise to strengthen their muscles and bones that will help them to stand and climb the stairs.
Bicycle kicks are an effective way to help your child get ready to climb the stairs. Lay down the child on his back. Firmly hold both ankles and move them back and forth as if they are paddling their bicycle.
This exercise strengthens their abdominal and leg muscles. To make it more effective, massage the baby’s legs by using either Jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, or coconut oil. The baby will love to have a massage session with you.
3. Single-Leg Balance
Walking up and down the stairs, a baby must be able to balance his weight on a single foot while he brings the other foot on the next step.
To make balancing easy for the baby, try the single-leg balance exercise. Ask your child to stand against the wall. Ask him to keep his hands on the wall. Next, sit behind him and lift his one foot off the ground for 8-10 seconds. This will help him to balance himself on one foot.
Repeat with the other foot.
Once your child gets hold of this activity, you can repeat this exercise by placing a soft pillow or balance disks under his feet.
4. Implement Sensory Strategies
Instead of simply instructing them verbally or showing them how it’s done, use sensory strategies to make them learn faster.
Sensory strategies refer to the activities that are designed by keeping in view the sensory system of babies. Through their sensory system, a baby can absorb and understand information about his surroundings.
To make practicing time fun and interesting, use sensory strategies that involve their maximum senses:
a. Tip For Sense Of Touch
To involve his sense of touch, keep the cutout of footprints on each step. Use different colors for each foot for instance blue for right, and yellow for left. Use a textured material to make the cutouts. Felt, fine grain, and sandpaper would be ideal for this activity.
Make sure that this activity is done barefooted by the baby so that he can feel the texture.
b. Tip For Sense Of Hearing
For this activity, you need any extra material. Your voice and hands will be enough to do the job. When the baby takes a step down or up the stairs clap for him or cheer him up. Encourage your baby to clap too.
c. Tip For Sense Of Sight
Use bright colored tape or strips of paper on each edge of the stair. You can also use stickers or his favorite toys on the stair to involve his sense of sight during the practice.
5. Hold The Baby’s Hands
If your child has ever slipped or lost his balance on the stairs while climbing, there are increased chances of him being reluctant to climb again. To overcome the fear of your child falling, stay close to him.
While your baby is climbing up the stairs, stay in front of him and hold his hands firmly. It assures the baby that he is going to be safe as long as his caregiver is around. Isn’t this practice time a perfect time to bond with your child?
6. Involve Everyone
Get everyone together for the baby’s practice session. Surround him with his parents, siblings, and even grandparents.
Guide and support him to walk while everybody cheers for him. To make it even more exciting for the baby let him climb the stairs with his siblings. Babies love to imitate their elders.
Clap for him as he takes every step. Your little bunny will love to be the center of attention.
7. Baby Proof The Area
While this may not directly help your baby to learn climbing the stairs instead, it will make your practice sessions with the baby safer and easier.
Make sure that the railings on the stairs are firmly secure and not loose. When a baby learns to climb the stairs he puts his entire weight on the railing to balance himself. If the railing is not firm it won’t be able to hold the weight of the baby.
Furthermore, the staircase used for the baby must be dry and not wet. Slippery stairs make it difficult for the baby to maintain his balance and he will slip.
Also, make sure that along with keeping your home clean and sanitized, don’t forget about the stairs. Keeping in view the current epidemic it is more than necessary to maintain a high level of cleanliness and hygiene.
8. Go Easy On Them
Making a child learn something demands tons of patience from parents. It is natural to get agitated and frustrated while dealing with the child. But, relax! Take a deep breath and understand that no matter how hard you try they won’t be able to master a skill overnight.
Understand their mood and their pace, then go accordingly. Don’t rush the process. If the baby is not in the mood to practice someday, leave him. Forcing him to climb the stairs might make him an irritable and fussy baby and he will most likely throw a tantrum, and we believe that is the last thing that you want them to do on the stairs.
9. Have A Practice Session Outside Of The Home
Don’t bore the baby with the same venue of practice. Take them outside and make them practice. Take them to malls, libraries, parks, etc. Let them climb the stairs under your supervision.
The change of environment and different types of stairs will give him the confidence and experience to climb the stairs other than his home.
In A Nutshell
Watching your child climbing up the stairs can be a scary sight for some parents. However, properly training your child how to climb the stairs would enable him to climb up the stairs safely without falling or losing his balance.
The above-mentioned tips will help your child to get confident enough to climb the stairs. Stay close to him during the learning phase so in case if anything goes wrong you are there to back him up.