Speeding Things Up: Managing a running toddler
Your toddler will start running sometime between 18 and 24 months, but every child develops at his own pace.
Your toddler will start running sometime between 18 and 24 months, but every child develops at his own pace. If you feel that your child is a late in running, don’t panic. Her body hasn’t stopped working since she started working, and her brain, nerves, and muscles are all getting ready to allow her to start running.
You’ll know she’s almost ready to start running when she has mastered walking, can go up and down stairs, and she can bounce, dance, and balance. Those activities work her big muscle groups, which she’ll need to run.
Once she does start running, you can certainly expect her to trip a few times. As you help her out, make sure to give her verbal instructions. She might not understand or be able to follow them yet, but it’s important for her to learn the cognitive aspects of running, in addition to the motor skills.
If you’re worried that she might be taking too long to start picking up the pace, check her environment. Make sure she has space to exercise and walk, that she feels safe and that she doesn’t constantly encounter things while walking.
There are a few physical attributes that may hinder running, including being flat-footed or having feet that point inward. But these things should not worry you too much. It might just take her a bit more time to do it. The red flags you should definitely watch out for include if one side of her body moves faster or better than the other side, if she’s frequently walking on her toes, if she walks repetitively back and forth with no real aim. Get in touch with your pediatrician if that’s the case.