Safe baby walkers

Tracy’s baby walker was way too fast so we weighted it down with sand or bottles of water so that it didn’t run away with her.

Trampolines help

We got Sandy an exercise bouncer (he is too big for one of those children’s trampolines with a bar). He enjoys bouncing on it while holding my hands and it is strengthening his leg muscles at the same time.

Sensory help

You can try light ankle weights to give a sense of awareness of legs and movement. Probably best to try it with your physio. It was good for us.

Ankle boots

Ankle boots with laces give better support. You can sometimes get them through the NHS so do ask your local OT about them.

Walking belt

We found a walking belt to be very useful. Ask your OT (occupational therapist).

DIY standing bar

We bought a pine curtain rail from B&Q for about £15 and mounted it at Sonya’s height in the hall so that she could support herself. We added a plastic mirror (bought online for £20) which motivated her to stand.

Water support

Mike first walked in the shallow end of a swimming pool where the water supported him. He loved it and so did we.

Horse riding for balance

Horse riding - (Hippotherapy) really helped Toby to prepare for walking by building up his balance. He loved it, we took him to a local riding for the disabled centre on Saturdays. 

Goalie trousers

Robbie can’t walk but he does crawl. We were so pleased to find goalie trousers are padded in all the right places to protect his knees and his hips. Try them!

Make your own seat

Since therapeutic chairs are so expensive, I made my 2 year old son a little play station with a Bumbo seat and a tray with legs that is used for eating in bed. The tray has a table that can incline towards him to draw or do puzzles, and I use it flat for playing with blocks, etc.

Folded tea towel

Alfie has floppy muscles, his legs flop out in sitting – we put a folded tea towel between his thighs and the chair which keeps his knees in line with his feet.

Sitting comfortably

Our occupational therapist made such a difference by telling us that when Steve is sitting his feet should be on the floor or on a foot plate. We hadn’t realized how much he needs this for stability.

Wheelchair skills

Go Kids Go has a team of skilled trainers who run mobility skills training for young wheelchair users and their families across the UK, they make no charges.

Learning to sit

Try using a V cushion. When Peggy was learning to sit we put a v cushion under her tummy with her arms out in front over the top of the cushion. We held her firmly round her hips for stability. This really strengthened her back for sitting. We used to play with her in this position for short periods of time.

Wobble cushions

Wobble cushion really works for Dan, we really recommend them for someone who has a fidgeting problem. Just google wobble cushion - you can find them on sports, physio or special needs websites.

Treasure hunts

To encourage walking practice, we create mini treasure hunts with treats on each chair to help motivate and turn physio exercises into fun! On sunny days, we head outside and do the same thing with a nature detective theme.

Hoppers work for us

Those old-fashioned blow-up hoppers really work for Andy who finds it really hard to focus and sit still. He is still constantly moving, but this time in an up/down motion which makes it much easier to keep him in the same place.

Toe the line

John walks on the inside of his foot and as a result frequently gets ingrown toenails. Countless toe operations have been avoided by simply bathing his feet in Manuka honey water and then applying nappy zinc paste and powder on the affected (dry) toenail.

Knee pads

Ella crawls to most places, so we use old shoulder pads or even the inserts of an old bra as knee pads. Just attach some elastic to hold them in place. You can also get knee pads from toy shops for roller skates.

Hula hoop help

When my daughter was learning to walk I used a hula hoop around her waist. Facing her holding the hoop, I moved slowly backwards as she followed, inside the hoop holding onto it for support. She saw it as a game and it motivated her to take those important first unsupported steps.

Core breathing

Those who have difficulty with motor skills tend to hold their breath to stabilize their trunk, which can be detrimental to balance. To help this, we try to constantly talk or sing with our daughter as we move and play.

Non slip, non slouch

Put a flexible, webbed non-slip mat (the sort you get to stop rugs slipping) on to a highchair seat to stop your child from slouching. Really works!

Use a support

Hugh's trunk is really weak and he's not able to sit independently, but by placing a small table/bench in front of him he can lean on it and support himself by leaning on his arms too. It stops him folding over completely in half or flopping over to the side. 

Share your tips and feedback

We'd love to hear your tips, practical suggestions and feedback.
This link will open in a new window.

Using these tips

These tips have been contributed by members of our online community. We hope they will give you some ideas to try, but if you need further help why not post a question to the community or talk to one of our community advisors. If you have any concerns about your health or the wellbeing of someone you are caring for, please consult a doctor or qualified professional.