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Jumping, Toddler Style

Your child bends his knees, clenches his fists, and, suddenly, quickly straightens up with an enthusiastic shriek. With all that effort, it seems like he ought to blast way up in the air  -- but he doesn't even get his feet to lift off the ground.

What's with this fake jumping? It's one of those only-a-toddler-could-love-it things. As your child gets bigger and better at moving around, he'll want to test out what his body can do. But before he feels ready for the big time, he'll get a kick out of just starting to do things, like jumping. Even shifting his weight from one foot to the other, or taking a little step instead of a hop, is exciting.

That's because kids this age get a thrill out of losing control  -- briefly!  -- and then getting it back again right away. As he explores his growing abilities, everything he tries seems new and fun. The real jump (along with a slew of other tricks) will come a little later, when your toddler feels more confident taking risks. Your only job here: offering him your hand to hold!