As your child moves through his toddler years, he will transition from the can’t-even-roll-over baby to a walking, jumping, running ball of energy with which you will have to struggle to keep up with. During these years, your child’s motor skills go from basically nonexistent to highly defined, making this period an important one in the process of physical development.
Baby’s First Steps
The first motor skills’ milestone that your toddler will reach is taking his first steps. You can expect your child to develop the balance and strength necessary to walk unassisted somewhere between 9 and 17 months, reports WebMD. As your child takes these first hesitant steps, he will officially transition from infancy to toddlerhood.
Off and Running
Not long after your child begins walking, he will develop his running skills. Most children become adept runners approximately six months after they master walking, reports WebMD. During the six months between the first steps and the first run, your child will continue to build his ability to balance, preparing him to move quickly without falling. Your toddler will likely fall as he has not yet fully honed his skills.
Refining Fine Motor Skills
After mastering his gross motor skills, your child will begin to build his fine motor skills. Children traditionally develop the ability to use fine motor skills for things like doodling or holding small objects during their second year of life. During this time, toddlers will also become more adept at passing objects from one hand to another and intentionally grasping objects.
Specialized Skilled Development
While walking, running and grasping develop rather naturally, some specialized skills require more careful training, reports MedlinePlus. Between your child’s second and third birthday, you can help him build his ability to complete specialized tasks, such as riding a bike or tricycle or standing on one foot. Without your guidance, your child will likely struggle to develop these skills, as they are not as natural as the skills your child developed early in his toddlerhood.
Promoting Motor Development
Helping your child add tricks to his motor skills toolkit is relatively simple. By allowing your child to explore the world around him instead of keeping him in his playpen or his high chair, you give him ample opportunity to build his skills. When teaching your child specialized skills, you can assist him by guiding his movements. For example, when teaching a child how to peddle his bike, you can place your hands on his feet and move them in a peddling motion for him, allowing him to see how that type of movement feels.