Ok so your baby has now mastered cruising but when they get to the end of a piece of furniture they go down to the floor and crawl to the next surface to stand at, does that sound familiar? If so, your baby is ready to start ‘bridging gaps’ which is physio jargon for stepping from one surface to another without sitting down! Practising this skill helps your baby develop confidence with unsupported standing and improves balance reactions.
Bridging gaps is an important development milestone for independent standing and stepping!
Set up your baby for success! Start with very small gaps between furniture or even encouraging them to reach out for you when you’re sitting close by to them playing in standing.
If they are hesitant to make the gap encourage them by guiding them through the movement or placing really motivating toys on the other side.
Slowly start to increase the gap, don’t make them bridge a gap that’s further and further away each time. Set the distance between the gap and play here for 10 or 30 or 60 minutes so they become confident with this distance before you progress them on to something harder.
Praise all attempts even if they don’t succeed. You want them to enjoy practising this skill and to not become fearful of not making the distance. If they frequently aren’t able to make the gap, either support them until they can or reduce the distance.
As they become more confident with this skill try and get them to bridge gaps that go from a stable surface to a less stable surface e.g. moving from the sofa to a push toy.
Mastery of this skill occurs when they can bridge the gap with both hands free momentarily.
We would love to know how your baby gets on bridging gaps and let us know if the tips above helped your baby to develop this skill. If they need a little more help why don’t you send us a message and we can organise a developmental physiotherapy appointment.