- Imitate: Once your little one is standing you can start playing with this. Pretend you are jumping and have them try to imitate you. This will usually look like bouncing with their knees bending and straightening. It is so much easier for them to learn to jump when they want to do it.
- Jump on the Bed: Yes, you read that correctly. It’s easiest to do this in the crib, where they can place their hands on the railing for support. If your little one is out of the crib already, jumping on soft surfaces, like a mattress or couch cushions, will provide momentum to help them clear the surface. You can hold their hands if they still need a little help to clear the surface
- Tippy Toes: Have your little one reach for stickers or toys high overhead. Pushing up to the tip toes will help strengthen the calf muscles which will help to propel them into the air when they are jumping
- Squat, squat, squat: In addition to the calf muscles, your little one will need strong quads and gluts to push off the floor. Practice picking up toys from the floor, or have them squat down to pop bubbles.
- Hold hands: Hold your little one’s hands and demonstrate jumping. See if they will try to help. If you are simply pulling them by the arms, try holding them closer to, or under, their shoulders. Once your child is giving you resistance in the arms, you can practice jumping and help them clear the surface.
- Jump in different environments: Jump on the trampoline, off the bottom step, forward, and up to reach objects. Give your child assistance if needed. Jumping is easier on bouncy surfaces like couch cushions, pillows, or a trampoline. It’s much harder from more resistant surfaces like sand or concrete. Try a variety of surfaces and see which works best for your child, then stick to it.
- Make it part of your day: Find at least one time everyday that you will ‘jump’ with your little one. Maybe it is off the bottom step, or over the crack in the sidewalk, or to touch the sky. This is just another way to expose them to the skill even if they aren’t yet doing it on their own!
For more ways to help your little one jump check out our 6 week Jumping Program!