Pulling to stand is a gross motor skill that should occur around 9 months of age, according to the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales. It’s an exciting and significant gross motor skill, as it helps baby build the strength and balance required for independent standing and walking! Try these 4 ways to promote this important gross motor skill:
- Make the crib a safe place for pulling up:
- Crib railings offer the perfect opportunity to learn to pull to stand.
- In preparation for this skill, make sure you lower the crib mattress to the lowest setting to prevent falling or climbing out.
Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr
2. Pull up to a kneeling position:
- Teaching baby how to pull to a kneeling position is a great way to progress towards pulling to stand!
- When babies transition from sitting to standing, they often come to a kneeling position, then push up with one leg in half-kneeling (see photos).
- To encourage the kneeling position, place a toy or other motivating object on an elevated surface, such as a couch cushion (removed from the couch and placed on the floor) or ottoman. Place baby’s hands on the surface encouraging them to reach for the toy and rise onto his knees.
Baby half kneeling, preparing to pull to stand: Photo courtesy of Kris & Fred via Flickr
3. Arrange furniture for pulling up:
- A great place to encourage pulling to stand is the sofa, because it cannot tip over on top of baby like a table or dresser can.
- Place toys, food, or other motivating objects on the sofa. There are two ways you can promote pulling to stand:
- Help baby place both hands on the sofa and both feet flat on the ground as you encourage him to pull up through his arms and push up through his feet. Baby may need you to help him by lifting up through his trunk or hips. If you feel like your sofa is too tall for baby, remove a cushion to create a lower surface.
- Help baby come to a kneeling position as described above. Progress by bending one leg into a half kneeling position, placing the foot flat on the floor, then help baby push through that leg to stand.
4. Try using an activity table:
- An activity table is a great way to encourage novice and experienced “standers” to continue practicing this skill.
- For new standers who need a lot of support, be sure to place it against a sofa or in the corner of a room, so it does not slip forward.
- Always supervise baby and be aware of the potential for the activity table to tip over.
- These are great toys because of its many uses! You can remove all of the legs and use it as a tummy time toy or as a motivator to pull to kneeling or standing by placing it on higher surfaces. It’s also a great way to promote cruising/side-stepping, as baby will want to explore all 4 sides of the table!
Photo courtesy of Andrew Jacobs via Flickr
The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy
Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy. Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs. You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com. Questions or concerns? Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.
About the Author:
Abby McAvoy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, graduated Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in 2012, with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Behavior. In 2015, she received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. Abby is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and presented her capstone research at the APTA’s national Combined Sections Meeting in 2014. During a clinical rotation in an outpatient pediatric facility, she discovered a great passion for working with the pediatric population and decided to pursue a career in pediatric physical therapy post graduation. Abby hopes to expand her skill set by obtaining specialized training in aquatic physical therapy, manual therapy, and the NDT treatment approach, in order to provide the most comprehensive physical therapy services possible to her patients at The Therapy SPOT. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, and being outdoors with her dog.