9 strong kid ideas

How does body strength effect schooling? Kids need strong bodies to stand or sit still, concentrate well and do fine motor tasks with good control. Postural stability and control refers to the ability of the body to stay in a stable, controlled upright position against gravity. A stable base allows children to do gross motor and fine motor tasks which need movement and control. When the trunk and neck are stable your child is able to develop the appropriate eye and hand movements needed for tasks such as cutting, drawing and writing.

Different postures require different degrees of core and postural strength. When your child’s core and postural strength is low, they may need to alternate between completing tasks in postures with moderate and minimal postural demands (examples provided below). As they develop core and postural strength they should be able to hold postures for longer. Once your child can hold a posture for up to 10 minutes they should increase to more significant postural demands (examples below).

Levels of postural demand

  • No postural demand – Sitting in a fully supportive lounge chair

  • Minimal postural demand – Leaning against a wal

  • Minimal postural demand – Laying on their side on the floor

  • Minimal postural demand – Sitting with legs in a ‘w’ shape on the floor

  • Minimal postural demand – Sitting at a table (leaning against the table)

  • Moderate postural demand – Standing at a table or whiteboard (not leaning)

  • Moderate postural demand – Sitting with legs folded to one side on the floor

  • Significant postural demand – High kneeling (kneeling with their back straight)

  • Significant postural demand – Sitting cross legged on the floor

  • Significant postural demand – Sitting on a chair at a table (not leaning)

9 activities that develop core and postural muscle strength include:

  • Wheelbarrow races

  • Jumping on the trampoline

  • Practicing yoga positions (rocket, tree, ninja)

  • Swinging themselves on a swing

  • Gym ball exercises

  • Walking on stilts

  • Twister

  • Hopscotch

  • Animal walks (duck, crab, kangaroo)

As your child appears to tire or slump, encourage them to move back into the correct body position for the activity. If this is still difficult have a break or change activties. Gradually extend the amount of time in postures that are diffiuclt for your child.

If you are concerned about your child's sensory processing, fine or gross motor skills, visual perception, eye hand co-ordination or handwriting an occupational therapist is the person to see for advice. An occupational therapist can assess your child's skills and advise you on what to do to help your child's development. For more information about occupational therapy check Our website. There are also lots of great activity ideas on the Talking Matters Pinterest page.

Our website now has lots of occupational therapy information sheets to download on motor skills, sensory integration and daily living skills. Check it out here!

Abbey Mengler

Occupational therapist

Talking Matters

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