If your baby has started to stand at surfaces you may now find that they are keen to move when standing, this sideways movement along surfaces is called cruising and is a stepping stone to independent walking (insert big gasp here!). Most babies will naturally cruise along surfaces that are stable e.g. the sofa or coffee table, however some can find cruising a little tricky and need a little help to get moving.
Cruising is important as it helps your baby learn how to shift their weight from one leg to the other which is a crucial part of walking, it also helps them to develop their standing balance and allows them to explore their environment in upright positions. If your baby has just started to stand maybe go back to our blog about play in standing to increase their confidence with standing before you move onto cruising.
How to support cruising?
- Placing toys just out of reach when standing will encourage your baby to step to the side to reach them.
- Cause and effect toys are best for cruising for example placing different objects in a bucket, or a car/ball run or stacking cups. This is because you can place different parts of the toy at either end of the surface which will encourage your baby to move from one end to the other. Remember to play at one end for a little bit before moving they toy to the other end.
- Encourage your baby to move to both sides, you can do this by giving a gentle nudge at their trunk/hips in the direction you want them to step.
- Once they have mastered cruising at one surface try them on different surfaces that are higher or lower or less stable or try outside at the park on uneven ground. And don’t just cruise facing the surface, see if they can stand with their back against the surface and take steps this way, its super tricky!
Have fun practising cruising and get creative with your games and places you try! Once your baby has mastered cruising take a look at our next blog all about bridging gaps.