You have to see it to believe it.
That’s a 4-month-old baby standing on his own. Yes, 4 months old. A dozen infants in Iceland all started standing between the ages of 3-5 months.
What’s the secret? Practice.
According to a study in Frontiers in Psychology, babies enrolled in a 12-week swim class were all taught to stand on their own. Amazing, considering that the average age of independent standing is 9-12 months.
Here’s what they did: Teachers worked with the babies twice a week on motor skill tasks. They had the babies pick up rings floating on the water, they had them stand on a foam board, and stand on the teacher’s hands. “Essentially what they found, was that over the course of the 12 weeks of practice, the infants became increasingly capable of supporting themselves in the upright position without support,” said David Anderson, Ph.D., Professor of Kinesiology, and a reviewer of this particular study.
Every single baby in the swim class achieved this feat.
Do you want to try it at home? Dr. Anderson says it’s easy to do with your own baby and the Otteroo.
With the baby in the Otteroo, you could start by putting a surface under the feet while the baby is in the water. It could be the parent’s hand, or it could be a board. “Put it under the baby’s feet and with this lessened gravitational constraint, see if the baby can progressively extend his legs into the surface,” says Anderson, “Then you can gradually lift the baby so that more of its body mass is out of the water, so that the gravitational effect is more challenging.”
Using this method, Dr. Anderson says you may be able to get to this standing response even earlier because the practice and response would be progressive. “In the experiment that they ran, they pretty much did the standing always out of the water so the infant was required to support its full weight the whole time.” Anderson explains, “One of the principles of strength training is a progressive increase in resistance over time. You could actually do that under the water by progressively pulling more of the baby’s mass above the water surface to train that response.”
Have fun, and let us know how it works!