19-Month-Old Toddler Development: Gross Motor Skills
Now that your kid has most likely mastered walking, she's on to bigger gross-motor-skill developments like running, climbing, kicking and possibly even climbing stairs—with you holding her hand and hovering anxiously over her with every step, of course. Now may be a good time to ditch your gym membership. You'll be getting all the exercise you need chasing after your kid! What you're thinking: "For the 70th time, that bookshelf is NOT a jungle gym!"
- While most gross-motor-skill development will happen magically on its own (and in its own time, so don't stress if your toddler is barely walking), there are a few things you can do to encourage your kid's gross-motor-skill development while keeping him safe at the same time.
- The best thing you can do is let your kid run wild. Take her to the playground or a kids' gym class. Or move all the breakables out of the way, crank up the music in your living room and let her go at it.
- Your whole house should be childproof by this point, but make sure to pay special attention to the stairs now. She may be able to walk upstairs with some assistance, but she'll still need the Mommy Elevator to descend. Your kid's climbing skills will lag months (if not years) behind her confidence, so bust out the baby gates and never let her attempt the stairs by herself.
- Don't be freaked if your kid runs like Frankenstein, with stiff legs, staring at the ground. It's totally normal. Ditto for walking up stairs one at a time with only one leg leading.
- Now that she's got her move on, your kid probably isn't too keen on sitting still. That means the highchair, car seat and stroller are not places she wants to be. Indulge your kid when you can—let her walk instead of roll in the stroller. But put your foot down on the major safety issues like riding in the car seat. If she gives you the "board" when you try to buckle her in, just tickle her belly to distract her and quickly force her little arms into the straps. Who knew you'd need sly ninja moves like that to be a parent?!
- Kids tend to develop in spurts, focusing on one major milestone before moving on to another. So, if gross motor skills aren't on your kid's current to-do list, it's likely that she's got some other developmental progress up her sleeve. (With any luck, it's learning to do her own laundry!)
- "My son, Mason, is one of those kids who doesn't like to be constrained. He's wonderful and sweet, but he's got a ton of energy and he loves to run all over the place, whenever he wants, wherever he wants. I've nearly had really scary accidents in parking lots and in elevators where he just got away from me in a flash. It's freaked me out so much that I bought a leash."
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All kids grow and develop at different rates. So please don't compare your toddler with so-and-so's from across the street—you'll just drive yourself nuts. If you have any concerns, bring them up with your doctor at your kid's next checkup.