Parenting Magazine, Feb. 2001
Soon after your child masters the art of toddling, she’ll want to
rise to new heights by climbing everything in sight: The stairs, a
coffee table, or whatever she can scramble up is fair game. It can
be unnerving for parents because a child this age doesn’t realize
how high she’s going or that she can fall, says Neil Herendeen, M.D.,
director of pediatric practice at the University of Rochester Children’s
Hospital. Plus, she’ll probably assume that wherever she winds up,
Mom or Dad will get her down..
But that doesn’t mean you should try to keep your toddler grounded:
as she perfects her climbing skills, she develops dexterity, muscle
strength, and a sense of balance. Some safe ways to help her practice:
Provide a step stool. The stepping surface should be wide enough
for her whole foot so that the stool won’t topple over.
Let her climb the slide at the playground. Just make sure you’ll
be able to reach her when she gets to the top!
Dust off that old aerobic-work-out step under your bed and let her
put it to good use. Place a wide plank securely on a slant-from the
floor to a stable toy chest, for example.
Give her something to step into. Many tots enjoy moving their feet
into and out of things as much as traveling upward. Set out a carton,
a dishpan, or maybe an empty inflatable swimming pool. Put something
enticing in it-like a small ball and let her step in and out of her
Other useful resources
Drew Bledsoe of the New England Patriots has established
the Drew Bledsoe Foundation Parenting With Dignity
program. Bledsoe says of his success "my
parents helped me the most to be what I am today" and
his goal is to help other parents give their children the
best possible start. For more information, see http://www.drewbledsoe.com/.