Looking back on my childhood, I loved to jump rope. It was one of my favorite activities. So when my daughter showed an interest in jumping her own rope, I was more than excited. We went right out to hunt down her very own. When we got back however, it was evident that this wasn’t a skill that you just have. It is absolutely one that you learn. Even though I don’t remember learning it.

Like with most new skills, if you can break jumping rope down into a few easily understandable steps your child should catch on.

The first lesson we had was how to jump. My daughter wanted to jump high, and she made a huge noise every time she landed. So for a few minutes we concentrated on how to properly jump. We explained that it is more of hopping, than jumping and showed her how to land on the balls of her feet.

Once she had the hang of the actual jumping portion, we moved on to jumping in rhythm. Again, I thought this was pretty obvious, but my daughter took a few minutes to find a rhythm. Phew, two steps down.

Next my husband and I had her continue to jump in a rhythm while we moved the rope I under her. We didn’t do big loops over her head yet. I just wanted to emphasize the fact that the rhythm was important. After a while we had her close her eyes and just visualize the rope and the rhythm.

When that was all mastered we moved on to her jumping while we turned the rope for her. Unlike the first time we tried this, she was able to do it right away.

Finally it is time to let her learn to turn the rope herself. This was by far the most difficult part of the lesson. We had her turn one end of the rope while we turned the other, again so she could feel the rhythm. It is also good to point out how the wrist makes it move, not the whole arm. When she got one arm, we switched to the other.

At this point, she had all of the skills necessary to jump rope, it was just a matter of putting them all together. As you might expect, this was a challenge. Remind your child to jump when she sees the rope falling in front of her eyes. It is important to keep her elbows in tight against the body so that the wrist can do its thing.

If your child still struggles with this, it’s okay. It takes some time to master the skill. Remember to be encouraging, and remind her that plenty of adults struggle jumping rope too!

-Stephanie Wright

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