Hesperian Health Guides

Activities to help your child learn to stand and walk

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Blind > Activities to help your child learn to stand and walk

To help your child learn to stand

a woman speaking while bouncing a child, as described below.
Let's bounce up and down, Natife.

Hold him in a standing position on your lap. Bounce him up and down a little so he gets used to feeling where his feet are. Also move him gently from side to side so he learns to shift his weight.

illustration of the below: encouraging a child to pull himself up.
Keep pulling, Anil. There you go!

Sit on the ground with your legs apart. Encourage your child to hold onto your body and pull himself into a kneeling position, and then to stand up.

Put toys he likes on a chair or table and encourage him to pull himself up to get them. Or put your hands on his hips to help him up.
illustration of the above: a child pulling himself up to a table.
a man speaking while lifting a child's hips, as described above.
Up you go,Viku!
a boy speaking while supporting a child's bottom, as described below.
I'm holding you, Manuel. You can sit down.

To help your child lower himself from a standing position to a sitting position, support his bottom as he lowers himself to the floor.

To help your child learn to walk

illustration of the below: encouraging a child to walk.
Come to me, Thet Nay, for a big hug.

Encourage your child to walk back and forth, holding onto a piece of furniture. This will also help him learn where different things are in the house.

a woman speaking while holding a child's hand.
Let’s walk to the table, Pablo. Everyone’s ready for supper.

When his balance is better, hold one of his hands and walk with him.

a child pushing a simple wooden walker with 3 wheels.
Be patient. It takes a long time for a child to feel safe walking without holding on to anything.

Let him start walking alone by pushing a simple walker, chair, or box. Put some weight in the box or chair so he has to push harder and so it does not move too fast.

Once your child is walking, be sure to think about possible dangers in your home and the area around it, and how to make walking safer.

To help your child learn to walk up and down stairs

a girl speaking while helping a child walk up stairs.
Hold the rail, Fernando, so you won't hurt yourself.

To help your child walk up stairs, encourage him to stand up and hold onto the rail and move one step at a time. Later, teach him how to go down the stairs too.

To help your child use his arms for guidance

As your child gets older, he can learn to use his arms to guide and protect himself while walking.

This boy's hand is touching the wall for guidance.

At home, he can use the back of his hand to follow a wall, the edge of a table, or other objects.

illustration of the below: a child protecting his face and body with his arms.

In other places he can hold one hand in front of his face, with his palm facing away from his body. This hand protects his face and head. He should hold his other hand about waist high, to protect the rest of his body.

illustration of the below: a child falling with his hands out and knees bent.

When he falls, teach him to protect himself by putting out his hands and bending his knees as he falls. This will keep him from hurting his head.

Accidents will happen just as they do to children who can see. But it is important to let your child do things for himself, to learn to be independent.

To help your child learn to use a stick (cane)

A child can start learning to use a stick whenever he seems ready, usually when he is 3 or 4 years old. Using a stick can help a child feel more comfortable when walking in new places.

The stick should be thin and light, but strong enough so it does not break easily. The top of the stick can be curved or straight.
HCWB Ch10 Page 95-1.png
It should be tall enough to almost reach your child's shoulders.

With practice, it can also help him walk faster, with long, sure steps. This is because he can feel further ahead with a stick than with his hands or feet.

a man speaking as a boy walks with a stick.
Keep your arm straight, Kiran.
a man speaking as a boy walks with a stick.
As the stick touches the ground on the left side, Kiran, move your right foot forward.
At first, have your child lightly
touch the ground in front of
him with the stick as he walks.
Stop before he gets tired. 5 to 10
minutes is enough at first.
As he gets used to using the stick, teach
him to move it from side to side, lightly
touching the ground. The width of the
swing should be a little more than the
width of his shoulders.

Your child can also use a stick to help him go up and down stairs and curbs:

a child holding a stick correctly, upright on a step.
a child holding a stick incorrectly, stretched out in front of him.
Teach him to hold the stick like
this to feel the height and position
of each step.
Do not hold the stick like this! The
step may make the stick stop
suddenly and hit him in the stomach.