Is your child having a difficult time getting the hang of alternating his feet when going up and down stairs?  This developmental skill typically emerges around the age of 3.  If your child needs a little extra practice with this, try introducing a visual component.  Adding a visual prompt can really help reinforce motor learning of the alternating pattern of the feet.

Use two different kinds of stickers, placing them on each step where your child’s foot should go, alternating stickers.  For example, if you use heart and smiley face stickers, put a heart toward the right side of one step and on the next step, put a smiley face toward the left side — try to space them right where your child would actually step.  Try using only 3-4 steps at first until they get the hang of it.  The visual component really helps to reinforce the motor learning of this pattern!


1 – Practice stepping onto and off of a small step stool or stack of books.  Have your child go up with one foot leading and then      step off the other side with the opposite foot first.

2 – Have your child practice going up and down the stairs while carrying objects.  Start light and move toward heavier (like the weight of a few books or a backpack). The weight of the object(s) changes their proprioception and balance and they will have to learn to adapt and adjust.  Try sending kids up the upstairs with the laundry (double the benefit – you get help cleaning up the house and kids work on their stair climbing skills!)

3 – Steps of varying heights. Practice by using stools of different sizes, books stacked at various heights, couch cushions, chairs, etc.  And, don’t forget to add some weight so that they can experience that proprioceptive change and learn to adjust.

4-  Visit a department store or library where your child can practice going up and down the stairs both with and against traffic.

5 – If you are at home, put on some music with a steady beat and see if your child can step in time with the music.

Practice now and you’ll see improved confidence.

If you concerned about your child’s feet, contact us today.

0800 473 776