When Do Toddlers Start Running?

4 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Toddler running

The pitter-patter of little feet hitting the ground, the joyous giggles, and the sheer exuberance on their faces – there’s nothing quite like witnessing a toddler take their first steps towards running. As parents, you eagerly await the moment when your little one transitions from wobbly steps to full-fledged running. But when exactly do toddlers start running?

Let’s explore this exciting developmental milestone, along with tips to encourage running, precautions to take, and what to do if your toddler is not running.

In This Article

When Do Toddlers Start Running?

According to UNICEF, Running is a significant milestone in a toddler’s physical development, typically occurring between 19 months to 3 years of age. However, every child is unique, and some may start running earlier or later than others. Factors such as their individual motor skills, strength, and confidence play a role in when they take those first speedy strides.

Top 5 Fun Activities to Encourage Running

As parents, you can support your toddler’s running development by creating a safe and stimulating environment that encourages movement and exploration. Here are some fun activities that can inspire your little one to embrace the joy of running:

1. Fill the Bucket

Place a small bucket or container at the end of the room or in the backyard and encourage your toddler to run and fill it with soft toys or balls. This activity not only promotes running but also helps to develop hand-eye coordination.

2. One-Legged Tag

Play a game of tag with your toddler, but with a twist! Hop on one leg while chasing each other. This activity helps to improve balance, coordination, and gross motor skills while adding an element of excitement.

3. Chasing Birds

Take your toddler to a park or a safe open space and let them chase birds. This activity not only encourages running but also helps them to connect with nature and develop an appreciation for the world around them.

4. Running After a Sibling

If you have an older child, encourage them to play with their younger sibling by running and playing games together. Toddlers often find it motivating to keep up with their older siblings, fostering healthy competition and camaraderie.

Precautions to Take When Toddlers Start to Run

Toddler running toward mother

While running is a fun and healthy activity, it’s essential to keep some precautions in mind to ensure your toddler’s safety:

1. Supervision

Always supervise your toddler while they are running to prevent accidents and ensure they are running in a safe environment.

2. Appropriate Footwear

Ensure your toddler wears comfortable and supportive footwear that fits well to protect their developing feet and prevents injuries.

3. Safe Surroundings

Create a safe environment by removing any hazards such as sharp objects, clutter, or tripping hazards that may cause accidents while your toddler is running.

4. Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries for your toddler’s running area to prevent them from running into unsafe areas like stairs or roads.

What to Do if Your Toddler is Not Running?

It’s important to remember that every child develops at their own pace, and some toddlers may take longer to start running than others. If your toddler is not showing interest in running, here are a few things you can do:

1. Encourage Movement

According to MSU Extension, Continue to encourage movement through activities like crawling, cruising, and walking to help build their strength and motor skills, which are essential prerequisites for running.

2. Provide a Stimulating Environment

Create a stimulating environment that inspires your toddler to explore and move by providing toys, games, and activities that encourage physical activity.

3. Be Patient

Avoid putting pressure on your toddler to start running and be patient with their developmental timeline. Children develop at their own pace, and it’s important to respect their individual journey.

As we wrap up, let’s reflect on the thrill of running as a developmental milestone for our little ones. It’s a momentous leap in their physical abilities, signaling a whole new world of exploration and play. By fostering a safe and stimulating environment, actively engaging in play, and offering unwavering encouragement and support, we can help our toddlers experience the pure joy of running.

Remember to be patient as they embark on their unique developmental journey, and soon enough, you’ll be amazed as they zoom around with boundless energy, eagerly exploring the world with their newfound running skills. It’s a heartwarming sight that reminds us of the wondrous adventure of childhood.


1. Is Running a Toddler Milestone?

Yes, running is considered a significant milestone in a toddler’s development. It marks a significant leap in their physical abilities and opens up a whole new world of exploration and play. However, it’s important to remember that each child is unique, and there is a wide range of typical developmental timelines. Some toddlers may start running as early as 18 months, while others may take until 3 years or even later to master this skill.

2. Are There Any Potential Risks or Challenges Associated With Toddlers Starting to Run?

While running is a normal developmental milestone, there are some potential risks and challenges to be aware of. Toddlers may be prone to falls, bumps, or collisions while running, especially if they are still developing their balance and coordination skills.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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