Your toddler is now on the move and some days you may wonder how you can ever keep up with her curiosity and investigation of everything from big to small! As your child reaches her first birthday, she may be taking her first wobbly, baby steps. In just two short years after that, she will have boundless energy, fun and control of her body as she climbs, dances and jumps!
Your child's exploration through movement and motor development is important for her learning, communication and over-all health. As your toddler moves-she learns! Whether your toddler uses her small muscles, such as her hands and fingers, or her large muscles, such as her legs, she is discovering new things and her independence and self-confidence are increasing. With the mastery of each new muscle or motor skill, your child's confidence will grow and lead to trying other, more challenging skills that she needs to learn.
While every child is unique and develops at her own rate, there are certain "developmental milestones" or things that a child can do within certain age ranges. A well-known saying, "walking by one, talking by two and drawing by three" is a very general guideline that you can use to let you know broad expectations of your toddler's development. It is important to know what skill children typically develop within an age-range.
Walking, for example, occurs when a child is between the ages of 9-15 months and the average age that a child walks is 13 months. When a child does not reach a developmental milestone within the typical age range or at expected times, the parent and health care provider will want to make sure that there is not something causing a delay, and get help early if needed. Talk to your health care provider if you have any concerns about how your toddler is growing and learning.
It is important for parents to understand what children can generally do at different ages so that any delays in development can be checked early by the health care provider. Motor development is one category of the developmental milestones your health care provider will check on routine well-child visits. Motor development includes both small muscles and large muscles. Small motor (muscles) activities involve muscles that are used for reaching for Cheerios, stacking blocks, turning pages of a book or coloring with a crayon. Large motor (muscles) activities involve muscles such as walking, jumping, climbing and dancing.