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Behavior - Gaining New Heights
From about 18 months until Toddler reaches the ripe old age of 2 years, you may begin to wonder if she could be part mountain goat!
Climbing up comes soon after walking. The ability to climb down comes some time after the ability to climb up. The adventurous spirit can lead a child to reach upward and explore vertically. Once there, she may cry indignantly because she does not know how to get back down.
How can you handle the panic that strikes when you find your child on a table or atop a chest of drawers? You don't want her to fall and hurt herself, but neither do you want to dampen her enthusiasm for exploration. Certainly you don't want to make your child a "fraidy-cat," too timid to explore or to try out new skills.
So, be calm. Don't communicate your fright to Toddler. Help her down, but don't snatch her up, comforting and scolding at the same time. When you help her down, you are teaching her how to get down safely.
Do communicate the fact that tables and chests are not for climbing. But reserve your instruction until after your child is safely on the ground and after you have had an opportunity to calm down. In that way, your words of instruction will more likely be helpful to your child.
Toddler¹s urge to climb is your cue to provide climbable objects other than furniture. Outdoor play equipment with a short ladder to climb or steps up to a slide would be good. Slides are ideal because a child climbs up, but slides down.
Instead of discouraging climbing, provide Toddler with safe climbing experiences. By climbing, Toddler is learning about height and depth, about how to work her arms and legs together, about balance and holding on, and about how things look from "up there."
Courtesy Growing Child
New guidelines for children under age 5 call for youngsters to get certain types of physical activity every day from birth. Here are some examples:
For infants, from birth to 12 months:
Brightly colored, easy-to-grasp toys that can be squeezed or have different textures encourage reaching and grasping.
A baby just starting to learn to roll over may be motivated to keep trying if parents wave a favorite toy just out of reach.
Provide at least a 5-by-7-feet blanket for playing, rolling and other large-muscle activities, and later, a safe area to explore while crawling.
Toddlers, ages 12 months to 36 months:
Bounce, throw and chase balls to develop hand-eye coordination.
Dancing to music and follow-along songs promote body awareness and balance.
Stair-climbing develops leg muscles and coordination, but should be taught on carpeted steps with an adult to prevent falls.
Preschoolers, ages 3 to 5 years:
Help the child walk along a line on the ground or in a safe area not around cars, along a sidewalk curb, to promote balance.
Lay out objects to create a maze or tell a child to run around a tree and back, providing vigorous exercise plus mastering turns and balance.
Around age 3, children learn to hop. Ask the child to hop first on one foot, then the other, promoting balance and strengthening leg muscles. Promote different rhythms by asking them to skip, learned around age 4.
Games should be noncompetitive. Preschoolers lack the social and cognitive development for organized team sports, which can leave them frustrated and block later interest in the sport.
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education