If your mobility is limited it can be difficult to go outside with your child. However, there are many things to do together inside.
Here are a few suggestions:
- It helps to have a small table near to where you sit, or you could use a lap-tray (a tray attached to a beanbag). You can use this to play different age-appropriate board games, e.g. lotto and dominoes, or to do jigsaws, Lego and all sorts of craft activities. You could get a book from the library for some craft ideas. You could also use a nursery rhyme video with some instruments to have singing sessions.
- It is lovely to spend time cuddling your child. It can be difficult to carry a baby or toddler, so use the pushchair while outside. Inside, teach the child to climb onto your knee rather than lifting them up.
- If your baby wants to explore and you are unable to carry him/her from room to room, there are several options to consider. With all of these suggestions you do need to be able to lift your baby in and out, which may be a problem. When lifting your baby generally, keep the baby close to your body. It may be easier to lift while you are sitting or kneeling, or wait until they can crawl, roll or bottom-shuffle to where you need them to be. Alternatively, stair gates or a playpen will confine your baby to one safe area, for example, if you are cooking.
Options to help your baby explore which also recognise your limited mobility include:
- A toy which your baby sits in which has a handle for you to push your baby without having to bend down.
- A baby bouncer on a doorway between rooms so that your baby can see you whilst having fun bouncing around.
- A good-sized playpen will keep your mobile baby safe so you don’t have to keep moving him/her away from potential hazards. It is a very good idea to put the baby in this before they can actually move so they become used to it and it does not frustrate them.
- Get your child to do small tasks for you, such as fetching something, by turning it into a game. For example, say, “I’m going to close my eyes and when I’ve counted to five I’m going to see if it’s in my hands.”
- A good way to get your child to come to you if you cannot chase them is to get them to understand they have to come to you by the time you’ve counted to three. They also learn that you are not going to play a chasing game, so tend not to run away.
- Stairs: as long as you don’t have a ‘kamikaze’ toddler, teach them to use the stairs on their tummy as early as possible, even before crawling or walking (backwards, feet first going down).
Content reviewed and updated in 2016.