We recently moved from a ranch home to a tri-level home, creating greater opportunities for Mary to climb stairs. Had we moved when she was younger and just crawling, we would have put up gates on the stairs. The best gates for stairs are those that are attached to the wall by screws and not held simply by tension. However, since she was already walking and really at the age where we needed to start teaching her how to properly climb and go down the stairs our strategy changed.
Going up the stairs has morphed from crawling to walking up the stairs holding the wall. We always have an adult behind her. Going down the stairs is a little more complicated. We taught Mary to go down backwards which seems to work pretty well as long as she stays upright (if she gets horizontal she could roll). The best part is that she starts crawling backward about 3 feet from the edge of the stairs – pretty hilarious. Of course, here again, we always have someone with her on the stairs.
New challenge…she wants to JUMP!
The other day, she was crawling up the stairs and got about 5 steps up, stood up, turned around, yelled JUMP and jumped…luckily I was right there and she landed on a step and not the tile floor. Needless to say, she was really scared and cried for a few minutes. She wasn’t hurt but I’m sure she didn’t learn her lesson…I’m sure she’ll try it again.
What are some of your stairs strategies? How do you balance children learning how to use the stairs with safety?