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Toddler Talk: Motor Skills

"Put your right foot in, put your right foot out, put your right foot in and shake it all about!"

My twenty month son fell down laughing when he tried this last part of the dance.

He popped right back up and looked over at me to see what body part we were supposed to use next.

"Right arm!" I said to him, showing him which arm to shake.

We were at a birthday party consisting of mostly three and four year olds. My son decided he could do anything that the "big" boys and girls could do. While he really couldn't, it was fun to watch him try!

Gross motor skills are ones that requires the use of large muscle groups to perform tasks like walking, balancing and crawling. By 15 months, toddlers should be able to walk well. Between 18 and 22 months, your child should be able to run, walk backwards, and walk up steps. By 2-1/2 years old, your developing child should be kicking a ball and throwing overhand easily.

Picking activities and toys based on your child's current level of development will instill confidence and give your child time to practice these skills. It is also important to learn what the next milestone is so that you can encourage your child to work on these skills. Since children this age often learn best by copying, the best way to teach your child is by showing him!

Motor skills build on the previous one. So when your child learns to sit, she can then work on pulling up to stand. After standing, she can take a step and learn to walk. Walking fast leads to running and then jumping. Find toys and activities that encourage your child to work on her next age appropriate milestone.

Here comes both our favorite part of the song..."Put your whole self in, put your whole self out, put your whole self in and shake it all about!"

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