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Running is a wonderful exercise for everyone. Running is a developmental milestone in toddlers too and it helps strengthen their muscles and bones, and leads to better health in adulthood. If your child is not yet running, there are a few things you can do to encourage it.
Once your little one starts walking, it won’t be long before she moves onto more advanced skills like running, jumping and hopping. These activities require coordination and your child will need a lot of encouragement to master them. Find out how you can help your child develop her running skills.
Tips for Helping a 24-month-old Toddler to Run
1. Clear Space at Home
You have a frisky, curious toddler at home who’s reaching new milestones almost every month. Growing children need space, so clear some in your home for your child to jump, dance, fall, bounce, tumble and run short distances, all without getting hurt. In particular, clear the space around sharp-edged tables and chairs.
2. Go out
Children love open spaces. When a toddler first learns to walk, there are times she will keep walking without pausing. Take yours to a park with a wide open space, free of obstructions. Give her the freedom to move and explore her surroundings. Show her slides and swings and let her watch other children run and play. Don’t push her to run, however; she’ll do it when she’s ready. ||
3. Use Toys and Playthings
Take a few toys with you when you take your toddler to the playground. There’s hardly any child who doesn’t love a ball! Roll it and encourage her to run behind it and bring it back. She may stumble and fall but when toddlers start running, it’s all part of learning the skill. You can get push toys such as a wagon or a toy pram too and let her push them. Gently encourage her to go faster.
4. Catch Me If You Can
Instead of chasing a ball, ask your toddler to catch you. A game of tag is a terrific form of encouragement to get her to run. Running with toddlers is a good cardio workout for mums too. If you have older children, organise short-distance races. There’s nothing like a bit of competition to get kids running! All children love bubbles as well, so you can blow them and encourage her to chase and pop them.
5. Set Limits
Whenever possible, explain safe and unsafe areas to your child such as where it’s okay for her to run and play, and the areas that are to be avoided. Teach her that running on the road is not safe but parks are meant for play and games. But as long as your child knows she’s protected and in a safe playing zone, she’ll be encouraged to try new things, including running.
Your child will pick up many different abilities before she starts running, like bouncing and walking backwards and sideways. With each new ability she picks up, her muscles get primed for running. It’s important that you keep encouraging your toddler to run and show her how much fun it can be. Once she starts, there’ll be no stopping her!