Learning how to stand and walk is tough work for a toddler. These activities require your child to coordinate both sides of her body, utilize the body’s large muscle groups and develop her sense of balance. Push toys offer just enough sturdy support to help your little one develop her gross motor skills and make a smooth transition from crawling to walking.
Learning to Stand
A major milestone that needs to be reached before your toddler starts walking is learning to stand. Push toys encourage your child to work on this important skill. Up until this point, she has experienced most of the world either in your arms or on the floor. With these toys, she can hold herself in a standing position and get comfortable with this new point of view. Since this is a new experience, she may start to cry after standing because she doesn’t know how to get down. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests teaching her how to bend her knees to lower herself to the floor without falling.
A push toy provides just enough assistance to help your child learn to balance her body without toppling over. Not only is balancing and standing a new experience for your child, her body proportions change dramatically over the first couple of years, with the head proportionally larger compared to the rest of her body. As her body catches up to her head, she has to get used to balancing and standing upright using her legs, arms and core.
Muscle Strength and Tone
The muscles in those little legs need to get strong, toned and developed in order for your toddler to be able to support her own weight without assistance. Your little one can hold on to the push toy while she works out those muscles. You can even weigh the push toys down a bit with a phone book for extra support, to prevent the toy from tipping over and to get those muscles working. Think of it as toddler exercise equipment.
As she makes her way across the room with her push toy, she will be learning how to alternate moving the right and left sides of her body to propel herself forward. At the beginning stages, her walking movements will be jerky and uneven. Practicing with her push toy will help her movements become smoother and more coordinated.
- HealthyChildren.org: Movement: 8 to 12 Months
- Early Intervention Support: Gross Motor Skills: Learning to Walk - What's Typical, What's Not
- Ask Dr. Sears: 12 - 24 Months - Active Play
- Chapter 7 Physical Development of the Infant; The Goodheart-Willcox Co.
- First 5 California: Fine and Gross Motor Skills
- Early Childhood Research and Practice: Interlimb Coordination: An Important Facet of Gross-Motor Ability
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