At What Age Should a Child Be Able to Do Jumping Jacks?
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In my occupational therapy sessions in South Florida, I often work with children who have difficulty with their gross motor skills and motor coordination. One common area that may be difficult for children is jumping jacks.
Jumping jacks are a skill that is used quite frequently in childhood during physical education classes, classroom stretches, and sports activities. Many children have told me that they feel ashamed or embarrassed when they are unable to do jumping jacks in a group with their peers, making them feel withdraw from further participation in activities. This has been especially prevalent in my OT sessions with children in larger bodies.
A majority of the time, parents are only becoming aware that this movement is difficult for their child when observing it during our evaluation, or when watching their child during an after school activity. I usually hear that their child “couldn’t keep up” or that they looked “uncoordinated.” Most often, it’s noticed during karate or gymnastic classes.
In order to determine whether this is a concern, we must first consider where a child is developmentally.
The general consensus is that a child should gain the skills to complete coordinated jumping jacks between 5-6 years old.
However, all children are different, and they may still be working on lower level skills that will help them be successful at jumping jacks. Therefore, it is important to determine which portion of the jumping jack is difficult.
For example, while some children have difficulty planning the movement and understanding the action, other children have difficulty moving both sides of their body in unison.
Once this is determined, an occupational therapist can help parents determine if an underlying skill or component is making jumping jacks difficult, and guide parents on how to best help their child gain this new skill.
Does your child have difficulty with jumping jacks? Does it make them feel embarrassed to participate in sports or PE class?
Get in contact with an occupational therapist with this simple form, to see how we can help!
Let’s get moving,
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