DS - CJ :, the love of my life
Hope that helps.
We taught ds early on to get down from tall surfaces, such as the bed, by backing down on his stomach, feet first (he finally caught onto this around maybe a year). He uses this technique when he is not confident about a set of stairs, or when he is in a hurry, so I generally trust him to get up and down safely because he knows his limits. I do stand pretty close by (though not necessarily right next to or behind him) with especially steep stairs or with the concrete steps or other hard surfaces, but otherwise let him do his thing. My dw, on the other hand, usually supervises a bit more carefully. She and I have different approaches to things like this.
He is currently 18 months. He can get up and sometimes down the stairs with the help of a low-set ramp to hold onto (or if I hold his hand). When there isn't anything to hold onto, he usually has to crawl up and scoot back down.
Our crappy basement stairs (our basement is like the second floor to our house, we go up and down all day long), which are STEEP, non-padded, no carpet, and at the bottom is the tile-over-cement floor.....more like 18 months, and i still freak out about it....sigh....
For steep stairs, I'll often offer to hold their hands, but I don't insist if they're being safe (i.e. not JUMPING from step to step!)
Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)
My oldest son was allowed to go up and down by himself around 10-11 mos., but just because he took more time to do it than his baby brother.
Dd has always been a mountain goat. She climbs everything, stairs included. She falls very infrequently. I figure she wouldn't climb so much if she 1. fell more often or 2. was nervous about it.
as soon as she could. She knew to turn around and go backwards by 10 months. Going up was a little earlier - say 8 months. She fell down the carpeted stairs on our landing a few times, trying to go down forwards. So after that we "taught" her to turn around and go backwards.
I'll probably keep that up until she's tall enough to comfortably reach the railing, and old enough to reliably remember to hold on.
But, she is also less "athletic" than my last two. Dd3 was never watched on the stairs and we moved here right when she turned two. She would walk up and down, no big deal. Dd2 was probably.also around two, at our old house. (We lived in an apartment a short time between houses, so dd3 never did the stairs dd2 did.).
There are two flights of stairs to my apartment so I walk behind my granddaughter just in case. She does make getting up and down them very difficult because from ten months she decided to think up different ways of making the journey interesting! The first variation was sliding her feet to the edge and then letting them drop down. It took me awhile to get used to this as she had just learnt to walk!. Since then she has been a one girl ministry of silly walks. I loved the penguin walk, the bear crouch and the "Angelina Ballerina arabesque". The worst was rolling UP, closely followed by crawling down face first. It can be very slow and annoying, especially when I am carrying bags. Amazingly she had only one accident and her mother was there too, thank goodness.
I know I am a bit off subject but I just felt like sharing!