Encourage physical development in infants/toddlers
04:33 | 11/07/2016

When we look at child development, it's important that we look at it with a whole child approach. This means that we look at all areas of development rather than just a specific area of development. Those are physical, cognitive, social emotional and language areas. Physical development is the first area that we focus on today.



Babies learn about their bodies including how their body parts feel and how they move by exploring, rolling, climbing, falling and experiencing touch from others. During the first few years of life, children experience amazing changes in both body size and control over the movements of their body. In the first year children typically double their body weight and learn to smile, hold up their head, roll over, sit independently, scoot and/or crawl, pull themselves into a standing position, walk with support and perhaps even take their first independent steps. Children achieve these milestones at different rates, but they follow a predictable pattern. Average ages for skill development provide an idea as to when the skills will likely be accomplished but these are guidelines and some variance is expected.



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How can you encourage physical development in infants/toddlers?

  • Provide stable and safe equipment for infants to pull themselves up to stand and walk from one space to another (such as mirrors with a pull up bar or low shelving)
  • Encourage infants to explore their toes and rattles and to interact with people and other aspects of their environment
  • Play music and encourage children to dance and move
  • Add props such as tunnels, pillows, mats and boxes to explore under, over, in, out and through
  • Provide riding toys that can be pushed with the feet to challenge children as they grow and acquire more advanced large muscle skills
  • Expose children to various types of materials to crawl or walk on indoors and outdoors, as well as slopes or hills to climb up and roll down
  • Provide soft balls to roll, throw and kick
  • Model different body movements and encourage children to imitate
  • Use dramatic play props (such as a horse, duck or frog) to encourage children to move in different ways

Experience Gymboree Classes to find more ways support your whole child development! Register Free Trial Class today!

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    - Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP, Professor of Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine, author: The Happiest Baby on the Block

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