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Skill Builder: Jumping Rope

To teach all the right moves, as explained by Amy Stavig of the United States Amateur Jump Rope Federation:

* Get into the rhythm. Practice jumping with your child, sans rope, about three to five inches off the ground, with knees slightly bent. Once she's able to mimic your pace, she's ready to add the rope.

* Measure the length. Have her "try on" her jump rope by standing on the center of it and pulling the handles up. They should extend to just below her shoulders.

* Turn the rope. With her feet together, the rope behind her, and her arms bent at the elbow near her waist, have your child swing the rope over her head so it lands in front of her, then step over it and repeat. This will help her judge the time it takes the rope to travel.

* Jump! Have her start off by turning, jumping, stopping, and repeating. If she's having trouble, have someone help you take over the swinging for her (turn at the same height as if she were doing it herself).

* Bust a rhyme. To help her stick to the beat, teach her a chant, such as "A-My Name Is Alice" or "Miss Mary Mack."

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