Training stepping up

Provide the toddler with a range of opportunities to practice stepping up onto steps of different heights and in different contexts. 

Stepping up onto a low step
Place a 5 cm high step close to a wall or other support surface.

  • Encourage the toddler  to step up onto the step and down the other side. 
  • The toddler may choose to use hand support on the nearby support surface to assist with balance. 

Step up low step touch support.jpg

A series of steps, with gaps between, provides the toddler with repeated opportunities to step up and down. 

The distance between the steps influences the strategy the toddler uses to position the feet ready for the next step. Changing the distance between the steps means that the toddler  has to adapt the step strategy to accommodate the new distance. 

Step up series steps.jpg

A good way to encourage a child to negotiate a step is the position the step in a doorway and then play a game that requires moving through the doorway to fetch a beanbag, ball or plastic water bottles.

Because the step spans the width of the doorway, the toddler has to step up and down to get through the door. 

Step door frame.jpg

Giving the toddler a large toy that needs two hands to hold sometimes will get them to negotiate the step without touching the wall. 

Step up holding a ball.jpg

Once the toddler is confident negotiating the low step, raise the step to 10 cm and provide opportunities for stepping up onto it. 

Step up higher step.jpg

Stepping up onto a high step 

Toddlers often encounter steps that are relatively high in relation to their height, and are too high to using the usual stepping up strategy. 

Most often a typically developing toddler will select a hands and feet strategy to get up the step. 

One foot is lifted up onto the step, the hands are lowered onto the step, the trailing LE is lifted up onto the step and the child stands up. 

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As Max lifts his hands up off the step and starts to bring the trunk erect, his balance is not secure and he needs takes a small step forwards to establish a new BOS.  

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