We're going to talk about everything your child should be doing on the stairs as they grow from a crawler to a walker. I call these "textbook milestones", but keep in mind that the age range may change based on environmental setup, prematurity, and parenting desires. What matters most is the quality of the movement!
Crawling Up and Down the Stairs
The first milestone you will see is your little one crawling up the stairs. Shortly after, you will see them crawling down the stairs. Often times crawling down is more difficult for your child to learn because they want to see where they are going. They may attempt to go down head first, which is not safe! We may spend a little more time teaching them to crawl down backwards down the stairs for safety. Some kids may prefer to scoot on their bottoms down the stairs, which is okay, but definitely not my favorite method, because if they lose their balance, they are still falling head first down the steps. Crawling backwards down the stairs poses the least risk for learning the skill, and I would prefer to teach this method whenever possible!
Walking Up the Stairs
Next, your child may show interest in walking up and down the stairs, which there are many variations of. You may see them use a railing or no railing, or using a "step to" or "step through" pattern (see videos above). If your child is struggling to meet the next milestone even with your help, it may be helpful to reach out to a pediatric PT for some help!
Walking Down the Stairs
Lastly, walking down the stairs is usually the most difficult to learn. It takes a lot of quadrecepts control and hip stability. There are ways to help your little one learn this skill and be independent with it, so stay tuned for a future post on how I normally teach stair skills!