Physical & Fine Motor Development in Your Toddler
Your toddler begins to walk around, initially with support then independently. They are beginning to master their body movements such as holding your finger while walking in the park. Their hand-eye co-ordination improves and enables them to do things like picking up toys or pushing a cart. They also may have the ability to hold a spoon and bring it to the mouth.
By around 18 – 24 months your toddler is usually keen to jump and chase you around the house – some get game and run off. This is the time you need eyes in the back of your head to see them from every angle. At a quiet moment you may find them holding a pencil and scribbling madly on paper or building a tower of blocks 3 – 6 blocks high.
By around 24 – 36 months your toddler is more balanced and can kick a ball without over balancing. They can stand momentarily on one foot and may begin to ride a tricycle. Their scribbling becomes more controlled and they can copy lines and then circles on paper and her block towers rise higher with 6 – 9 blocks.
Once your toddler starts walking, it may take a few months for them to perfect the skill. On the other hand, if they’re good at crawling, they may not be interested in walking much at all seeing as they can get where they want to go without walking.
When your toddler does walk, they’ll be toddling at first—walking with their feet wide apart and toes pointed outward and will have difficulty walking on uneven surfaces or around corners without falling. As they walk around and manoeuvre around furniture and other household things, watch them carefully to avoid injuries. Foot ligaments and muscle development is enhanced when your toddler walks barefoot. Avoid putting shoes on unless they’re walking outdoors.
Fine Motor Skills – Hands & Fingers
Your toddler is fine-tuning their hand and finger skills, giving them more control when they explore. These skills will be useful for learning to use a spoon and a fork and getting more food into their mouth. They can drink through a straw and bite through a variety of textures. Fine motor skill development increases their ability to play with different and more complex toys.
At around 15 to 18 months old your toddler is able to hold a pencil and use water-based paint and brushes. They will enjoy rhyming books and games that require them to count using their fingers or that stimulate their imagination. Games encourage agility and creativity while building tone and help to make sense of the world around them.