We may take walking, running, and climbing for granted as adults, but these skills aren’t a given. It takes a child plenty of trial and error to master the sophisticated movements necessary to perform them, and they go through several stages before becoming proficient at performing them. As a parent, it’s your job to encourage them and facilitate their progress onto the next phase of motor development.
While jumping over a small obstacle takes you little to no effort, for a toddler, carrying out such a task is a momentous achievement. If you’d like to know how this vital motor skill develops and how you can help your child get there, read on. You’ll learn useful tips that can make a big difference in your child’s development.
At what age should a child be able to jump with two feet?
Most children have mastered jumping with both of their feet off the ground at the age of between 21 and 26 months. Learning how to do it well can help them get ready for playing sports and engaging in other physical activities later on in life. Kids who master these basic skills on time have a greater chance of being more agile and more sporty later in life.
Why is jumping tricky to learn?
Jumping develops after walking and running because it requires the child to perform several complex movements. While it may seem simple to an adult, it’s actually pretty sophisticated. It requires:
- Crouching with their knees slightly bent
- Keeping their arms behind them
- Swinging their arms forward using force
- Straightening their legs mid-jump
- Landing on their feet with their knees still bent
- Controlling their balance
The child has to learn how to perform each of these movements in succession, carefully coordinating each so they complete the jump successfully and keep their balance.
How to teach your toddler to jump?
Jumping starts developing spontaneously as children gain better control of their bodies. They begin experimenting with one-foot jumps only to progress to full-on jumps with both feet off the ground. Although these are spontaneous, gradual developments, there’s a lot you can do to help. You can encourage your toddler to practice by holding their hands and giving them support as they jump. Also, make sure that they have a soft surface to jump on, such as pillows or soft carpet.
Once they’re a little more confident in their skills, you can try some fun activities to help them become true experts:
- Buy flashcards or cut out your own paper shapes (like cute animals or pretty flowers). Lay them on the floor and tell them to jump from one card to the next.
- Take them to a trampoline park, like Uptown Jungle Mesa, to practice on soft, safe equipment. They’ll have fun for hours and can also meet new friends.
- Make your own DIY obstacle course. Place different toys on the floor and instruct your child to jump over each.
- Teach them some classic games like hopscotch or elastics. They have clear and simple rules that preschoolers can follow and you can simplify them even more for toddlers.
- Jump rope is another option that your little one could enjoy. They can do it on their own and it’s a fun challenge.
- Go out for a walk after the rain. Have them jump in puddles. Children love splashing around and they’ll definitely have a fantastic time while perfecting their jumping skills.
- Do frog jumps. They engage a lot of muscle groups, so your little one will get stronger and more agile.