Single leg balance is an important skill to have for anyone and everyone. It is essential for many gross motor milestones, such as cruising, kicking, running, hopping, and even stair navigation! So what does single leg balance look like as a child grows older?
At 16 months old, your child should be able to hold onto something and lift one foot up. Have you even seen your child step in an out of a laundry basket or empty box while holding onto the side of it? This is single leg balance! Another fun way to practice single leg balance at this age is to have your child hold onto your hand while he/she steps over a pool noodle or other obstacle on the floor.
At 24 months old, your child will be able to lift one foot to kick a ball. Children should not show a dominance until age 3, so make sure you practice both sides! If you're curious about my last statement, I have a blog post on symmetry. I'll link it here.
Your child should be able to stand on one foot now for 3 seconds. They may have a dominant foot by now, but I still like to practice both sides! After all, both sides need to be strong to perform lots of gross motor activities.
Your child's single leg balance should be up to about 4-8 seconds now and they may be able to hop on one foot 2-3 times in a row. A fun way to practice single leg balance is using animals for cues (a flamingo stands on one foot), and by playing Simon Says! An easy way to practice during your daily routine is to have your child stand on one foot for 5 seconds before putting their pants on every day, or standing on one foot while washing their hands at the sink!
Single leg balance at this age should be greater than 8 seconds now, and they may be able to hop 15 times in a row. If they are a proficient hopper, see if they can hop forward, backwards, and/or sideways. A fun way to do this is outside drawing shapes or hopscotch to jump and hop in and out of!
Your child will be able to tandem walk. This means that one foot is in front of the other, and what is required while they are picking the back foot up is single leg balance on the opposite foot. This requires lots of coordination and balance. If it seems easy for your child, try it on a squishy surface like a mattress, or on a balance beam or curb! They also will be able to skip pretty well now. Single leg balance AND hopping is required for skipping! If you need help teaching your child to skip, head over to my Instagram page here and check out my saved stories on how to teach skipping.
What questions do you have about single leg balance? This skill is something we work on into adulthood and beyond, and it is important to keep practicing!