Previously I wrote a post on how to help get your child to stand alone. A lot of children will pull to stand, and then they will insist on holding on to something for security. There can be a long period between the pulling to stand and the actual standing independently. You can speed up the process with a few simple activities. These activities will also help improve balance and protective responses.
Once your child can stand while holding on to something for support, you can attempt these exercise. Place your child standing in front of you while you are sitting on the floor. Position them so that their feet are at least shoulder width apart for stability. With the child either facing toward you or away from you, place one hand on your child’s hip (just above the top of the thigh). Using a small, quick movement, give a tiny shove toward the side opposite of wherever you placed your hand. It should be very quick and not too much of a shove. What should happen is that your child should move the foot wider on the side you do not have your hand. It should be a little step to widen their stance. If there is no foot movement, try quickening the movement or pushing a little harder. This can take a little trial and error, but the result is to elicit a balance reaction which helps with standing and walking balance. The next step is to move behind the child, and with both hands placed at about hip level, give a quick little shove forward. You should notice your child move a foot forward to catch their balance. Then, sit in front of your child, and with hands at hip level, give the same quick push backward. Again, you should see a foot step back in order to correct balance.
If you have tried repeatedly, and you don’t see the change in foot position, you can modify the exercise very easily. Again, you can be in front or behind; it doesn’t make a difference. To modify, you are now going to grasp one leg around the knee or thigh. There is no need to grip hard. With your other hand, you are going to grasp around the opposite ankle, and lift the foot slightly off the floor and move the feet wider. The leg that is not being moved needs to be held only so you can stabilize your child. Make the sideways step wide enough so that your child experiences a position change. Do several times on one side, and then repeat on the other. Then, holding one leg to stabilize, pick up a foot at the ankle and move the foot forward, and then move it backward. The movement should mimic taking a step sideways, front and back. Make sure to do the same with the opposite foot.
There are many reasons children that children do not want to stand alone. If protective reactions and balance reactions aren’t well developed, they do not feel secure when standing alone. If their trunk is a little weak, they may feel unable to sustain an erect position. These simple activities will address all these issues.