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The Importance of a Heel Raise

You heard it here first- heel raises don't only strengthen the calf muscles! In children, the heel raise is an important milestone that indicates improved balance and muscular control. The heel raise is important for decreasing and/or preventing falls, supporting the arch of the foot, and strengthening nearby musculature.

You may see your little one on their toes when they first start standing, either to explore what their body can do, give them more stability, or reach something that is further away. This, of course, is while one hand is holding onto a stable surface. Once your child is around 28 months old, they will be able to walk on toes with demonstration and start to maintain a heel raise around 3.

How can we work on heel raises at home? Here are some ideas:

  • Bubbles- catch the bubble on the end of your stick and hold it up high for your child to go up on toes in order to pop it.

  • Tape measure- hold a retractable tape measure above your child's head. Have them reach up, grab it, and pull it down. This is such a fun game and I have to credit this idea to Emily at Inactive Kids!

  • Tape- Place tape on the wall and have your child reach up to pull it off.

  • Stickers- get creative with stickers! Put them on your face, shoulders, arms, and have your child reach up to take them off and put them on themselves.

  • Puzzles- Hold the puzzle pieces up high and have your child grab them and then put them into the puzzle. Bonus points if you put the puzzle board on the floor to work in some squats too!

  • Cars- set up a ramp. Either make the ramp really high so that your child has to get on their toes to put the car at the starting point, or have an adult hold the cars and have them go on their toes to reach each one that they put into the ramp.

  • High fives- easy as that! Sometimes we just need to ask for a "really" high five to get our kids on their toes!

  • Coins- one of my favorites! Hold the coins up high and then have them put them into their piggy bank or makeshift piggy bank from a tennis ball container!

There are lots of more ideas out there, but these are just a few to get you started. Use these ideas to strengthen those legs and feet, and let me know what your favorite one is!

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