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Hanging Around... Upside Down

Eva Steinitz was 4 when she decided to change her view of the world. "Suddenly, she was upside down all the time. She loved lying on the couch with her head on the floor and watching TV or reading that way," says her mom, Rebecca, of Arlington, MA.

Many children start to experiment with being upside down around age 2  -- say, by looking between their legs or, a little later, attempting a handstand. "Kids love the change in perspective, and it helps them improve their sense of balance," says Helen Garabedian, an early-childhood developmental movement educator and founder of Itsy Bitsy Yoga International in Sudbury, MA.

At ages 3 and 4, your child may get more daring, hanging backward off a couch or on the monkey bars. You may need to play spotter until this phase passes, especially if he's dangling in the air. Whatever you do, don't put him into an upside down pose yourself, no matter how much he asks  -- you may place weight on a body part that can't support it. If he gets that way on his own, he'll probably be able to right himself.

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