Giving your child a JUMPstart

Jumping is a key skill that requires balance, coordination and body awareness. Our physiotherapist shares some tips to help your child learn jumping skills at home.

Jumping is a key skill that requires balance, coordination and body awareness. It requires a considerable amount of arm, leg and core strength. To help your child learn jumping skills at home, our physiotherapist Nur Syamira shares some tips that you will need to know.  

Is my child ready to pick up jumping?  

Your child might be ready to jump when they:  

  • could tiptoe 
  • increasingly play around with the action of squatting and then quickly standing back up   
  • try to bounce on bed, couches etc,  
  • could jump down from a small height 

What can I do to encourage jumping skills at home? 

Bouncing on soft surfaces 

The bouncing action helps the child to practise the motion of jumping. It also gives feedback through the joints in preparation for jumping.  

  1. Put items like pillows, mattresses and couch cushions on the floor.  
  1. Under your supervision, encourage your child to stand and bounce on these surfaces.  
A young boy is practising his jumping skills on a sofa

Fully assisted jumping

This helps your child to learn the proper body movement when jumping (e.g., bending and lifting off).  

  1. Hold your child at the elbows or under the arm.  
  1. Give the verbal cue to bend at the knees and countdown to jump. You can say “Bend your knees, 1, 2, 3. JUMP!”.   
  1. Assist them with jumping.  
The first photo shows a caregiver supporting a young boy by his elbow, while the second photo shows the caregiver supporting the boy under his arms to help him learn jumping.

Note: When helping your child to jump, never hold them by the hands. Instead, support them at the elbows or under the arm (refer to the photos above). A sudden pull of the hand and wrist could pull the elbow out of place, resulting in an injury commonly known as nursemaid’s elbow.  

Jumping to targets with assistance

Targets serve as a visual cue to help with coordination of the movement, foot placement when landing (promote narrower base of support) and to achieve distance. Objects such as coloured mats, paper, footprints, tapes and hula hoops can be used as targets.   

  1. Place the targets in a line.  
  1. Refer to previous instructions. Assist them to jump from one target to another.  
A caregiver supporting a young boy under his arms to help him jump from one target to another.

Jumping from a short height 

Jumping off a height might be easier for your child to start with as they make use of gravity to help with the motion.  

  1. Prepare a book or stool. If you are outdoors, you can take your child to the last step of the stairs or the end of the slide in the playground. Use items like hula hoops or colourful mats for their landing. 
  1. Again, support your child at the elbows or under the arm. Say “Bend your knees, 1,2,3. JUMP!” and then assist them.  
A caregiver supporting a boy by his elbow to learn to jump from the last steps of the stairs to a colourful mat on the floor.

What else do I need to take note of?  

Ensure that your child lands with slightly bent knees as this reduces pressure in the knee joints. Wearing shoes for support would also be beneficial when your child jumps.  

Remember that jumping takes a lot of large muscle activation and it takes time to develop.  

Finally, you may be doing most of the work at the start when introducing jumping skills and helping your child learn proper body movements in jumping. Eventually, you will need to do less as your child starts to participate more. 

References:  

Teo-Koh, S. M. (2010). Fun Start, move smart!: Fundamental movement skills for growing active learners. Singapore Sports Council. 

Jumping milestones for kids. Therapies For Kids. (2021, August 18). Retrieved August 23, 2022, from https://therapiesforkids.com.au/jumping-milestones-for-children-18-months-to-5-years/#:~:text=What%20signs%20you%20may%20see,scared%20of%20jumping%20off%20steps.  

Mommy and Me PT [@mommyandme.pt]. (n.d.). Jumping [Highlight]. Instagram. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17964918034513750/?hl=en 

Related Posts
Making The Headlines

Disabled car buyers exempted from car loan restrictions

Trip To Jurong Bird Park

Volunteers from the Freedom Adventure Club brought 15 DAC clients to the Jurong Bird Park

No Barrier To Technology For People With Motor Neuron Disease

SPD’s assistive technology specialist Tan Chuan Hoh shares how with the right types of devices, people diagnosed with severe physical Read more

SPD Therapists Present Research Findings To Improve Standard Of Care

SPD Therapists Present Research Findings To Improve Standard Of Care