We recently explained body awareness in this post. Now, we are going to talk about some strategies and ideas to help improve body awareness in your child.
One of the systems that sends messages to your brain is the proprioceptive system. This is made up of receptors in your tendons (??) that sense movement and position in space. When these receptors are a little sluggish, they don’t always send the most organized or accurate information. So how do we ‘wake up’ the proprioceptive system? One of the ways is to give it more information and input!
Here are a few strategies that can help:
- Heavy Work – Have your child help to carry the grocery bags in (the ones that are a little heavier). If you live in an area that you can have fires, have them help carry the firewood in. Basically carrying heavy things from one place to another is great for this. You can also have them push things. We like to turn the ikea stool (or another tall stool) upside down and put a weighted sandbag in it and have them push it around. You can create a path with floor tape or chalk or whatever you have and have them follow the path with the stool. You can get creative with what this pushing looks like but basically it has to be on the heavy side so that they pull in all their muscles to help. (or like in the picture you can push friends around!)
- Squeezes – This can be exactly what it sounds like. You can use your hands and squeeze along your child’s arms or legs or trunk. Obviously you don’t want it to be so tight that it is painful, but you want it to be tight enough to give input. You can also do big hugs. This one is always great because the added benefit is you get a hug. One of those giant bear hugs with a tight squeeze!
- Steamroller – This one can be fun if you use your imagination. If you have a therapy ball or peanut you can have the child lie down and then you roll the ball or peanut over them. Let them choose what position they want to be lying in (stomach, back, side). You can also be silly and just steam roll an arm or a leg until you do the whole body. Make it a game and roll a dice to decide what gets steamrolled next (1=right arm, 2=left arm, 3=right leg, 4=left leg, 5=trunk, 6=whole body).
- Jumping or stomping or bouncing – Jumping can help to wake up the whole body. If you have a trampoline take breaks throughout the day to do 5-10 jumps. Or make a game of moving from one room to the next by stomping feet. You can also help them to sit on a therapy ball and you can bounce them up and down.
What are some other ideas you have for helping to improve body awareness?