Rising from floor sitting to standing

Recently I was asked about the development of standing up from floor standing in toddlers and young children. This sent me trawling through my library of video clips to find examples of children rising from standing. Because toddlers often play on the floor and also like to move around a lot, I found many examples.  I did manage to find a few clips showing young children standing up from sitting.  

Toddlers will usually stand up through bear standing, while the older child prefers to move directly from sitting to squatting and then standing up. Both strategies had several things in common:

  • the use of momentum to shift the weight from the buttocks onto the feet;
  • the need for a rapid and forceful contraction of the knee extensors to prepare the LE for the shift of the body weight from the buttocks on the LE's;
  • the need to adapt the alignment of the trunk and extremities to maintain the COM over the changing BOS  (dynamic balance control).  

TOMT Subscribers can view the video clips associated with these examples here How toddlers and young children stand up from sitting on the floor 

An example of a toddler standing up

Toddlers will usually stand up from sitting by moving into bear standing (with weight on the hands and feet) and then coming erect from this position. Standing up is usually followed by walking forwards towards a new focus of interest. 

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How context changes the movement strategy

Here you see Will at 16 months standing up moving from sitting to a half squat, pick up a ball and then come erect. 

The movement from sitting to half squat happens very quickly as Will uses momentum to lift himself up onto his feet and hands. 

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Here is another sequence of frames, this time showing Will standing up and immediately walking forwards. Notice how he adjusts his foot position before lifting his hands up off the floor. 

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How young children stand up from sitting 

Young children adopt a different pattern of movements when standing up from sitting. 

They will often take weight on one arm, move into a squat position and stand up in one swift movement.  This action requires the use of momentum and a rapid development of force in the knees extensors to lift the buttocks up off the floor. 

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Here you see Roan (5 year) getting up from the floor on request. 

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When instructed to stand up without pushing on the arm, Roan reluctantly stood up by moving into kneeling and then standing up through half kneeling.

She was also instructed to put her hands on her hips to stop her from using them to push up, but did not manage to keep them there as she needed them to assist with generating momentum and for balance.  

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Standing up through half kneeling

Just to check that I was correct about the pattern of movement used by young children, I asked my 5 and 7 year old grandchildren to stand up from the floor, and they both naturally stood up using the pattern demonstrated by Roan, take weight on one arm, move into a squat and stand up. 

Yet when infants first pull up to standing, they quickly learn to stand up through half kneeling. So I am wondering if the reason why young children do not stand up through half kneeling has to do with balance, strength, changing body proportions and flexibility. 

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More information 

Toddler Training: ideas for training toddler gross motor skills 

Toddler abilities: locomotor, agility, climbing tasks - a check list 

TOMT Blog: introducing new ideas and challenging old ones