All children love being active and moving around freely, and jumping is one of those energetic activities most of them adore. Compared to other motor skills, like walking and running, jumping develops relatively late in a child’s life. This shows that, apart from being a hoot and a half, jumping is also a complex and sophisticated type of movement.
Keep reading to discover more about your toddler’s jumping skills, when to expect them to start jumping, and how to help them master this important skill.
What are the advantages of jumping for kids?
Children get a lot of benefits from jumping, including:
- Agility: It’s great practice for a young child’s balance as they have to coordinate different muscles to land safely.
- Bone growth: Jumping puts pressure on the bones of the legs, which strengthens them and stimulates growth.
- Muscle development: Various muscles are involved in this kind of movement, which helps them grow stronger.
- Healthy weight: This vigorous activity burns calories and prevents weight gain.
- Social skills: Children bond over play and jumping is often an indispensable part of group games.
- Entertainment: Jumping rope, playing hopscotch, and trampolining give children lots of joy, says the team at Uptown Jungle Avondale.
How do jumping skills develop during toddlerhood?
Similarly to most physical skills, proficient jumping is preceded by months of experimentation. This trial-and-error process is perfectly normal and usually starts at about 18 months of age. It usually takes several stages:
- At 18 to 21 months of age, a child will typically start trying to jump in place but their feet will barely leave the ground.
- They’ll succeed in getting both of their feet off the ground at about two years old. Plus, they’ll be able to jump a foot forward.
- Between two and three, your little one will begin jumping off steps (if they’re not too high). You’ll notice them land by squatting with their hands extended.
- They’ll acquire the ability to land on their feet confidently as well as jump over small items on the floor, like toys, at about three years of age.
- When they turn four, you can expect them to jump up to 2 ft forward, jump over bigger hurdles than before, and jump off higher steps.
- Typically, they can jump on stepping stones and up low steps between four and five.
- After the age of five, they’ll have already perfected this skill. They are ready to start jumping rope and playing other games that include this movement.
What are the signs that a toddler is struggling with jumping?
These signs may mean that your little one may need some extra help to master this skill:
- They’re between the ages two and three and haven’t started jumping yet.
- They can’t get their feet off the ground.
- They’re afraid of jumping off a low step.
- They only use one side of the body to jump.
- They fall over when they try to jump.
How do you encourage your toddler to jump?
Here’s how to help your toddler reach this developmental milestone:
- Make sure they do it safely, on soft surfaces, to prevent falls.
- Practice by jumping with them.
- Jump from one circle to another or over the tape on the floor.
- Lift your child up to help them do it.
- Create small jumping hurdles at home.
- Encourage them to jump like a bunny, frogs, and other animals.
- Teach them how to play the game of hopscotch.
- Play Chinese jump rope with simple rules.
- Help them develop their leg muscles by walking, running, and squatting, which will support them as they jump.
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