As a parent, you have many opportunities to watch and interact with your children as they develop their coordination and balancing skills. This can be a delightful and rewarding experience, especially when you see your toddler’s brow furrowed as he or she attempts to match shapes or the glee on a baby’s face when he or she successfully takes those first steps. There are ways to help a baby or a toddler improve coordination, which not only helps these children do more physical activities, but can also increase their cognitive abilities. Here are four ways to help your child have better coordination.

Hand-eye Coordination Toys for Babies

For babies, a parent should focus on hand-eye coordination first by buying or making certain types of toys. Some of the most popular toys for infants include mechanical mobiles that are attached to the side of a crib or a playpen. These mobiles have colorful objects that will attract your baby’s attention as the child attempts to grab or reach for the item. As the mobile spins slowly, your baby will visually focus on the colorful objects to improve visual acuity and physical coordination. You can also play games with baby’s like patty cake and peekaboo, which help them start moving their bodies in ways that mimic yours.

Blocks and Ring Toys for Toddlers

Toddlers like playing with blocks or ring toys while learning how to stack the items or by placing the rings on a pole. There are toys that involve placing an object that is a particular size or shape into an opening that is the same size or shape, and this also improves a child’s hand-eye coordination abilities. These also improve your child’s ability to recognize patterns and make connections between shapes and sizes. Playing cards or matching games with toddlers can also help them develop these skills.

Learning How to Swim

Many parents don’t realize that even babies and toddlers can begin to learn how to swim. Swimming lessons in a safe environment with a knowledgeable instructor is vital for early learning. Babies and toddlers will wear devices that help with buoyancy while learning how to move their arms and legs in a coordinated way to splash through the water of the swimming pool. This type of physical activity will strengthen the muscles in a child’s legs, arms and back to help the baby or toddler with other activities that include crawling or walking. Not only is this activity relaxing and fun, but it can also give your child some survival skills. Swimming could help keep your child buoyant for a short time in case of an accident, which could give an adult time to notice and rescue him or her.

Baby and Toddler Gymnastic Classes

To improve your child’s coordination, look for a business that offers baby and toddler gymnastic classes. An instructor teaches these classes, but a parent remains nearby to help a child along with learning about the gymnastic movements. For babies, the focus of the class is helping the child to strengthen the body’s tendons and muscles along with gaining additional flexibility. Toddlers can begin by learning a few simple tumbling movements that include rolling on a soft mat or performing a somersault.

Talk to a Pediatrician First

If you are concerned about the safety of a class or a toy, then talk to your child’s pediatrician first. The pediatrician may have some great advice concerning how to care for your child’s health while a baby or a toddler is participating in a class or using a certain type of toy. Consider these activities for ways to enrich your baby or toddler’s life while improving his or her coordination!

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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