Helping kids “Do it MYself!” with a basket

Walker BasketTwo of my daughter’s most frequently uttered phrases are, “I do it MYSELF!” (with oomph and passion behind the words) and “I help you?” (with her head cocked to one side, blinking her eyes sweetly).  She wants so badly to help and to be independent.

One of our biggest challenges in helping her do things herself has been that her hands are occupied holding onto her walker. Now, that doesn’t stop her, mind you. She will carry objects in her hands while precariously balancing her wrists or elbows on the walker, crouching down and getting all jelly-legged. While I am impressed with her ingenuity, I’d rather her hands be free to hold onto the handles so that we avoid unnecessary trauma.

Goal: Attach a vessel for carrying objects to her walker.

Attempt #1
We looked around the house and found a flat cloth pouch about 5″ x 8″ with a main pocket and a mesh outer pocket. There were loops on each side of the pouch, so it was easy to attach to the walker.

Walker Basket first attempt

Pros:

  • Being cloth, it never got in the way when we folded up the walker.
  • She was able to carry small objects.

Cons:

  • Because the pouch was flat, it required two hands to put anything into the pockets (pull open pocket with one hand, insert object with the other). One handed operation would be better.
  • The small size and narrow pockets limited it’s usefulness.

It was better than nothing, but far from ideal.

Attempt #2
I went in search of a sturdy, but lightweight basket. It was Easter time, so first I considered a variety of different Easter baskets. However, their oval shape would make them difficult to attach. Next, I went to the sports aisles to check out bicycle baskets. Bingo! Flat on one side, curved on the other, lightweight, large enough for a variety of objects, and it came with attachment straps. I had two options: a white Hello Kitty basket or a purple princess basket. Because I have fond childhood memories of Hello Kitty, she won out.

After I turned my $11.95 over to Target, I headed home and got to work. The biggest question was where to put the basket. Putting it on the side would have been ideal, but it would make her walker too wide to walk through some doorways, so we had to put it on the back. After some trial and error, we attached the basket to the middle bar.

Walker basket attempt 2

The basket has been amazing for Lily. She can carry her own sippy cup, her favorite toys can hitch a ride, she helps set the table (her plate, cup, silverware, salt & pepper shakers, etc.), and she helps carry items throughout the day at home and at school. It gives her so much pride, and seeing her so proud of herself makes me grin from ear to ear.

Walker basket use exampes

The only challenge we had is that the connector straps broke down and eventually broke. I decided to replace them with ribbon. I took two lengths of ribbon, wove each around the bar and through the holes in the basket, and then tied the two pieces of ribbon together at each end with a double knot (sturdy, but able to be removed if necessary).

Walker Basket with Ribbon

Pros:

  • Lightweight yet sturdy & sizable enough to hold almost anything.
  • Loose-fitting attachment straps/ribbon allow the basket to move easily. Lily can pull it to one side for easier access, and we can flip it up when we fold down her walker.
  • Gives her freedom to be more independent, which gives her a lot of pride.
  • Lets us get her involved in helping and doing simple chores.

Cons:

  • When walker is folded, the basket adds width.

All in all, I’m happy with the solution we came up with, and feel my $12 was well spent.

Do you have a child using a walker in your life that needs some independence? It might be time to hit the bike aisle and find yourself a basket… :)

2 comments:

  1. We just did the same thing a couple weeks ago. I bought a basket at the dollar store and attched it with reusable zip ties for easy on and off. I hooked in on the top bar in the back so we have to remove it if we collapse it. He’s so proud of it and i’m making great use of it :)

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