Readers of this blog will have seen beautiful pictures of happy, smiling children walking with the help of the Upsee.
We, too, eagerly awaited the arrival of our daughter, Esther’s, Upsee, anticipating similar smiles and happy times.
Some children may take to their Upsee immediately, but for those who have children like our Esther, here are a few tips we have picked up, from the early stages of getting comfortable with it, to learning to love it.
Esther’s CP (Cerebral Palsy) means that she is often extended and it is difficult for her to coordinate herself in this state until she relaxes.
Her therapists suggested that giving her something in her mouth to chew and focus on would help with this, and it is remarkable how well it works!
One day, Esther had been with me in the Upsee for a few minutes and was still not happy, and I was ready to give it up until another time, when I noticed a packet of crisps (N America: chips) on the table.
On an impulse, I popped one into Esther’s mouth as we set off back to the living room to get out of the Upsee.
But as soon as we started, Esther immediately relaxed, and for the rest of our walk she had a great time.
Food, we have decided, is our Upsee “trick”. (It does not have to be crisps: chocolate worked too!)
I’m sure anything your child likes will be appreciated, and will help them become happy and comfortable.
In particular, she seems to be amused by rhythmic or marching songs, sung in time to our feet as we stomp around.
Esther also loves “dancing” (note inverted commas, please) in her Upsee.
We stop walking for a few moments to jiggle around accompanied by my “singing”. In this way we have been able to make her bend her knees while she is in the Upsee, as she often just keeps her legs straight.
Holding hands might be obvious, but make sure you try it, as it has made a big difference on several occasions with Esther, who loves to hold hands.
It helps her keep her head up and not be as extended while she walks.
Involving your child in whatever the rest of the family are doing will make them want to use their Upsee more and more.
Esther gets hugs from her little brother and the admiration of her baby sister, as she walks tall with her Mommy or Daddy.
We use the Upsee to play football (soccer) with her brother, which brings smiles all round.
No one wants to walk around one particular room for extended periods of time.
Take your child outdoors, if possible, or around the home.
Esther loves going on the deck or looking out of the windows.
These are things she could not do herself before getting the Upsee.
Having this ability makes her happier, and encourages her to hold her head more, as she wants to explore the world around her.
Sometimes the moments fiddling with buckles and straps to get into the Upsee are more than a little child wants to wait.
Even those who start out enthusiastic about trying their new gadget might become uncooperative before they actually get going.
Try and ease their impatience with excited conversation about what you can do once you are walking.
And, for those times you cannot get your little one to cooperate, just wait till the next time.
Esther doesn’t talk much, but she has her own opinions, and sometimes she just does not want a walk that day.
When we first received our Upsee, it took a few times for us, as parents, to get the hang of it.
Of course, Esther didn’t like the fiddling with straps, and so we had the Upsee a while before she was really happy in it, and then only for a few minutes.
However, now she typically will be happy in it for 30-45 minutes, and it is usually Mommy who gets tired sooner!
As Firefly suggests, start with a short period of time, and then increase it as your child tolerates it better.
Will you be going on holiday this summer?