Does your child have difficulty going up and down the stairs? Here are some fun ideas to help your child work on walking up and down the stairs reciprocally (placing one foot on each stair).
- Use Visual Cues: It can be helpful for kids to see exactly where you want them to put their foot when going up the steps. You can trace their footprints or cut out circles and put them on the stairs to show your child where their foot should go.
- Make it Fun: Going up and down the stairs isn’t always the most fun thing to practice, so make it a little more interesting. You can turn it into a matching game, which also gives your child the visual cues mentioned above.
- One way to do this is to use stickers: You’ll need two different types of stickers. Place one type of sticker on your child’s left shoe and a different type on the right shoe. Then put a sticker on each stair that the child can match with the sticker on their shoe, making sure to alternate the stickers appropriately!
- Use two different color socks: Along the same idea, you can put two different color socks on your child. Then find objects around the house of the same color (bean bags, toys, other pieces of clothes, anything you can find!). Place the objects of the two different colors on the stairs in an alternating pattern. Have your child go up the stairs by matching the color of the sock with the color of the object on the stair.
- Practice at Fun Places: If you don’t have stairs at home or are having a hard time motivating your child to practice on your stairs at home, try the stairs at the park! Most parks have a set of stairs that lead up to the slide that you can use to practice.
If you are concerned about your child’s stairs skills, here are some general guidelines for stairs milestones:
- Walking up and down stairs with a handrail placing both feet on each step: 15-18 months.
- Walking up stairs without the handrail and with both feet on each step: 23-24 months
- Walking down stairs without the handrail and with both feet on the step 25-27 months.
- Walking up stairs alternating feet without support: 35-36 months
- Walking down stairs alternating feet without support: 43-44 months
If you have any concerns about your child’s stair-climbing skills, our pediatric physical therapists are here to help!