Learning to jump off of the ground is part of typical child development and typically happens right around the age of 3 (for some kids before age 3 and for some a little later). This skill takes balance, coordination and strength and is a new concept for your child who is used to being in contact with the ground since she became mobile. Kids all learn to jump at their own rates. I have seen some kids jump up from the ground, two feet together on their very first try. Others seem to get stuck in the pattern of jumping with one foot leading, almost as if they are galloping. But once they get it…WATCH OUT! They will be bouncing around like little Tiggers for weeks! Below are a few tips I use to get kids jumping quickly and with good form (and usually with BIG smiles too!).
1. Give your child a cue to squat down really low, like a frog, wait a second and then JUMP! Sometimes, this hint to squat gives them just enough momentum through their legs to boost them off the ground!
2. Place something on the ground and encourage them to jump over it. A taped line, a favorite small toy, anything! Motivation is key here — DON’T SQUASH IT!
3. Make a target. Tape a piece of paper or stick a sticker to the ground a few inches in front of your child. On the count of 3, say JUMP! See if they can land on it.
4. Model jumping for them. Stand next to your child, encourage them to watch you, squat down and jump!
5. Jump to pop bubbles! Blow bubbles low to the ground for your child and see if he can jump up and pop them.
Most kids will learn to jump on their own when their bodies are coordinated, strong, and ready. But, if your little one seems a little reluctant or doesn’t quite seem to be getting the concept, these tips should help!
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