As children move into the toddler stage of life, their bodies go through many changes. Between the ages of 2-3 years, children grow taller and they put on weight, meaning they need to navigate a changing body along with developing physical skills and capabilities. Toddlers are also constantly planning their next move while being on the move, which isn’t an easy feat considering they are also developing a strong attention span and ability to coordinate their body!
Your toddler’s lack of coordination is probably nothing to be concerned about. They fall down a lot and bump into things because they are learning to use and move their bodies in new ways. Walking is a complex skill for our young children, and much practice is required before they are able to walk without falling over. After they learn to walk, children go through the same process with running, climbing, jumping and more!
The more active and adventurous your child is, the more likely they are to have some accidents. We advocate for children to experiment with different movements, as this is the best way for them to learn about their own bodies and changing capabilities, as well as how to keep themselves safe. When a toddler falls over while performing a specific movement, they are given the chance to reflect on the consequences of their actions.
“Perhaps there was a rail I could have held onto to help me walk down the stairs?”
“Perhaps I should have walked around the toys rather than over them?”
“Perhaps my shoes don’t fit me well?”
Adult intervention can also enhance this experience of reflective thinking, if done in a supportive, and not overbearing manner. Talking to your child about how and why they fell before encouraging them to practice the movement again is an example of a positive experience. We want the child to feel safe and capable, rather than experiencing fear of failure and falling. Each time your child falls and receives support and positive reinforcement, the more likely they are to develop a strong sense of resilience and persistence.
As well as developing the ability to walk, children have an increased awareness of their strength and coordination, challenging themselves to use these across a variety of means. The more they move, the more skills of balance, coordination, spatial awareness and independence are developed.
Of course, if you think your child is falling too often, we recommend speaking with your doctor about your concerns.