Pulling to stand is a developmental milestone that you should typically see emerging around 9 months of age. Here are 5 easy tips to promote development of this milestone during everyday play with your little one!
Begin with the Basics: Tummy Time
Tummy time may not have been on your radar when thinking about the idea of pulling to stand. However, tummy time is a vital piece of an infant's overall gross motor foundation. Tummy time should be a part of your daily routine and can be started early on in short bouts, or as long as tolerated, as long as the infant is awake and under your supervision at all times.
Tummy time may not always be your little ones favorite part of the day, but it is oh-so important for core, upper and lower body strengthening as well as overall gross motor development! With consistency and practice, you just may begin to see your little one start to enjoy this time while you watch them grow and explore their world before your very eyes!
Ohhh We’re Halfway There: Pull to Kneel
Teaching your little one how to pull up to a kneeling position is a fantastic way to progress to achieving the milestone of pulling to stand. You will likely see this progression take place in the form of a tall-kneel on both knees (pictured above #1) however; you may also see this progression take place in the form of a half-kneel on one knee only (pictured above #2). Place motivating objects including toys or treats in front of baby up on a stable, elevated surface; such as a cushion, small stool or ottoman.
Next, place your little ones hands on top of that surface. You may pick up the object once again to allow them to see it while their hands remain on top of the stable surface. Give a boost up from the hips if needed so that he or she may pull themselves up onto their knees if they are not yet strong enough. You may assist your little one to come to a half-kneeling position by bending one leg and placing the foot flat on the floor. You may provide support as needed at their hips or trunk so they may maintain this position and interact with the toy. Encourage them to maintain this position and begin building the strength required to make it all the way up on their own!
Reach For the Stars: Place Toys on Elevated Surfaces
As mentioned above, placing motivational objects up onto an elevated, stable surface that won’t tip over, such as an ottoman, sofa or small table, is a fantastic way to encourage kiddos to begin pulling to stand. Engage your little one with the object and allow them to watch you place it on a surface out of reach and possibly out of sight. Their curiosity will help motivate them to pull up on the stable surface in search of the object. You may help position your little in sitting on your leg and position their feet flat on the ground. Place their hands on the stable surface and encourage him or her to pull with their arms and push up through their feet. You may assist them by lifting up through their trunk, hips or bottom. If you feel like your sofa is too tall, remove a cushion to create a lower surface or stack two cushions on the floor. Once they have mastered pulling up to kneeling, pulling to stand is sure to follow. Allow them to maintain this position and play for as long as they’d like while you stand close by!
Bustin’ Outta This Joint: Crib Safety
You will typically see your little on begin pulling to stand in their crib. Cribs make a great place to practice pulling up because the railings tend to be very easy to hold on to while providing a safe environment for baby to do so. As most little ones tend to discover this on their own, it is always best to maintain a fun, safe environment by lowering your little ones mattress to the lowest setting possible and remove any objects they may use to climb on.
Finish Line Fun: Standing During Play
A table is a wonderful way to encourage pulling to stand, standing, promote weight shifting and increase strength. For kiddos who are more novice standers and just beginning to pull to stand, make sure that the table is well anchored to the floor and will not tip over once baby pulls up. You may also find it helpful to back one side of the table into a wall or couch to keep it from sliding as your little one tugs and plays. Once your kiddo has become aware of the top of the table, they will likely want to pull up to stand at it more and more frequently! Allow them to pull up, stand and explore all sides of the table!