Is your child 2 years, 3 years, or 4 years old, and having trouble jumping? Jumping can be very difficult for some kids to perform. Jumping and playing is an excellent way for kids to strengthen large muscles that will further contribute to their development and growth. By age 2, most children should be able to jump off the ground with both feet simultaneously.
Here is a general outline for typical toddler development related to jumping:
- On average, by 2 years, children can jump up off the ground clearing both feet and jump down from a 7 inch height.
- On average, by 2.5 years, children can jump up to touch an object placed 2 inches above their fingertips.
- On average, by 3 years, children can broad jump a distance of 24 inches and jump over a 2 inch high hurdle.
If your child is behind on some of these developmental bench marks, there are several ways that you can help your child.
How to help
- If your child has no clue how to jump, try this. Sit down on a chair. Face your child away from you and place them in a squat position with their feet on the chair between your thighs. Say, ‚Äú1, 2, 3, Jump!‚Äù Lift them up by their trunk to help them ‚Äújump‚Äù down to the ground. As your child starts to get the feel for this, help them less and less with each jump.
- Most children first learn to jump from a springy surface, such as a trampoline. To help your child jump on a trampoline, start by providing full trunk support as they jump, next help them by holding 2 hands, and finally hold only one of their hands. After they master jumping on the trampoline, they will begin jumping from the floor.
- Your child can practice their jumping on a trampoline while holding onto hand grips or a bar. Clinically, I have found that purchasing a small trampoline with a hand rail attached for the home, immensely helps children learn how to jump.
- It often helps when children have a start- and end-point to jump to. Place two door mats right beside each other. Have your child jump from mat to mat. You can challenge your child by progressively moving the mats further apart.
If you want help with these suggestions or notice any of the above mentioned warning signs, a Physical Therapy evaluation can determine if your child is simply showing normal variability in gross motor development or if your child can benefit from intervention. Call me today at (704) 332-4834 ext. 114 to set up an evaluation at Child and Family Development. Click here for more information on our services.