It all starts with the first drive home from the hospital. The extra worry and concern that comes with being responsible for a small, amazing human. I’ll never forget leaving the hospital and going over the first speed bump. As the Prius rolled over the bump, I tensed every muscle in my body thinking that would help brace “the impact” from my 7-day old son. It’s completely natural to want to ensure your little one is safe. Once the safety box is ticked it and they start to move around a little, it becomes the “is my child developing normally?” worry.
Below are some general targets that your little may be doing by the time the hit 5 years? There is a lot of time between 18 months to 5 years so the below are targets to aim for a 5-year-old (in no particular order). Also, please don’t put pressure on yourself or your child to have all these ticked off. Generally, it all just takes time but if you are concerned please see your GP or paediatrician.
Balance on one foot
Roll both ways
Squat down and stand up
Jump with both leaving the ground at the same time
Kick a ball
The question is now, what does life require of an 18 month to 5-year-old? At this age I think it is more like what does mum and dad require from their 18 months to 5-year-old to do?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say sleep would be right up there. The good thing is having your toddler frequently playing and developing the above targets “totally wears toddlers out before bedtime” clinical sleep psychologist Lynelle Schneeberg says. “I think the best way to do this is offer lots of outdoor play or any large motor play. Physical exercise deepens sleep and also relieves stress and frustration, which all toddlers certainly have.”
Next let’s talk behaviour and happiness. We just love it when our little angels are “easy and happy”. So how can practising the above targets make that happen? Being strong, at any age, makes life’s tasks easier. With this comes less frustration, less fatigue and more comfort. If a child doesn’t have enough core strength, they struggle to pay attention and hold their body in the correct position. This in turn leads to frustration (or “bad behaviour”).
Feeling connected to your child is one of the most pure, loving feelings. Even if you won’t admit it, you love to play too so why not help your little one develop while playing with them. Rolling, wrestling, jumping, climbing, kicking balls are just a few fun activities to do TOGETHER. You’ll feel happy, your child will be stronger, and they will be ready for a nap (you might sneak one also)
Being playful is fun at all ages. Feeling strong feels great for everyone. Combining the two is a recipe for magic.