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Health Information For Parents
It might look like just child’s play, but toddlers are hard at work learning important physical skills as they gain muscle control, balance, and coordination. Each new skill lets them progress to the next one, building on a foundation that leads to more complicated physical tasks, such as jumping rope, kicking a ball on the run, or turning a cartwheel.
Toddlers always want to do more, which can motivate them to keep trying until they master a new skill, no matter what it takes.
Take advantage of your toddler’s natural desire to keep moving. Even at this early age, kids establish patterns of activity that carry through the rest of childhood. So an active toddler is likely to remain active later.
Playing and learning are completely natural for toddlers, so mastering physical skills should be fun and games for them. Parents should give toddlers many opportunities to practice their developing skills while providing supervision so they stay safe while they learn.
In addition to these physical accomplishments, toddlers are developing in other ways. Provide opportunities for yours to explore, ask questions, use his or her imagination, and practice fine motor skills, such as stacking blocks or coloring.
Here’s a guide to the physical skills toddlers are working, by age:
For children 12-36 months old, current National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) guidelines recommend this much daily activity:
As a general rule, toddlers shouldn’t be inactive for more than 1 hour at a time, except for sleeping. That’s a lot of work for parents and caregivers, but a lot of much-needed activity for toddlers.
Encourage your toddler to be active, and remember how much he or she is learning along the way.
Kids go from babies to toddlers during this time, from first steps to walking well. They also make major strides in language and communication.
Some toddlers may seem too busy exploring to slow down and eat. Others may be fickle about food or refuse to eat at mealtime. That’s where healthy, well-timed snacks come in.
Reading to toddlers lays the foundation for their independent reading later on. Here are some tips.
Kids this age are naturally active, so be sure to provide lots of opportunities for your child to practice basic skills, such as running, kicking, and throwing.
Most toddlers this age are walking and gaining even more control over their hands and fingers. Give your child lots of fun (and safe) things to do to encourage this development.
Toddlers are learning to talk, to walk and run, and to assert their independence. For many in this age group, “outside” and “play” are common requests.
You might think of babies and toddlers when you hear the words “babyproofing” or “childproofing,” but unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in kids 14 and under.
Learn how to encourage good behavior, handle tantrums, and keep your cool when parenting your toddler.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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