The core strength “How-to” Post.. How to help improve your child’s posture.

Following on from Part 1 and Part 2 of our core strength series, we warmly welcome you to Part 3! This is the juicy stuff.. The how, where, when and what piece. It can be tricky to know where to start with your child and there are some important things to consider before you jump straight into the exercises.

The Approach

  • Be mindful of how you ask your child to perform the exercises. “You have to do your exercises” is very different to asking, “Let’s play a game of X”. Make them sound fun, not like homework.
  • Try and find activities your child likes, rather than pushing for a certain exercise. Ask help from your therapist to grade the exercise down until the child feels confident and capable. THEN slowly build up.
  • Remind your child that you would rather them do less exercises in proper form, rather than them rush through exercises and perform them incorrectly or with no control.

The Motivation

  • Some of our kids won’t need motivation- they might love moving, playing, hanging and pushing. For some kids though this ‘movement drive’ does not come naturally and you may need to help your child find some motivation. First we play X, then we can do (insert preferred activity) often works well. Earning a favourable activity/experience after X minutes of exercise may work well for some kids.
  • Some kids want meaning and reason as to why they need to do exercises. Try to frame it in a positive way- “You need to do this because you aren’t strong” is again different to, “We can have fun doing wheelbarrow walks; they help us sit up straight and make us even stronger”.

The Routine

  • You don’t always have to separate exercises from day to life. If your child is watching TV, ask them to lie on their stomachs and watch. If you are walking somewhere and you see a low ledge, ask them to walk along it. Be creative and make these things part of your day to day routine.
  • You can’t expect your child to make huge gains from core exercises, if for the remainder of the day they sit/stand/play with poor posture. Help them sit up straight and provide supportive seating if need be. Make sure their feet are resting flat and comfortably on the floor or on a stool. Make sure their back is leaning against a chair. This could also help with attention as they won’t be squirming around the place as much looking for stability!

The Exercises

  1. After/before school/kinder  try and do 5 minutes of targeted monkey bar time with your child. What you do on the bar will depend on your child’s ability, but plain and simple hanging is a safe place to start. When they can do this without you giving an support, ask them to lift their legs towards their chest and hold. Or throw a ball to their feet and see if they can kick it back to you (or AT you!) keeping their feet ‘glued’ together. Remember, we want slow controlled movements where possible.

Image via Activeforlife.com

 

  1. When walking to the bath/dinner table/chose location, do it via a wheelbarrow walk. This is demonstrated in the picture below. Start at your child’s knees (or higher if need be) and only work your way down to the ankles when they can maintain a straight spine. Encourage your child to keep their head up and stop when you notice them dropping their heads, or bending their spines. They might need to hold this position first, and build up to taking steps.

Image via Activeforlife.com

 

  1. Challenge your child to a crab hold, and when they are strong enough…  A crab walk! This is a fantastic position that opens up the whole front of the body (the opposite to the “hunched” position most of our kids acquire during the day… on iPad’s.. at school.. everywhere). Ask your child to squat on the ground and then place hands on the ground, lifting their bottom just off the ground. When your child can stay in this position comfortable, and in correct form (keep those shoulders down!) you can have a short race by walking your hands and legs forwards or backwards.

Image via Activeforlife.com

 

  1. Book your child into a weekly Gymnastics, Yoga or a Group Fitness class. This way even if you don’t get around to working on your child’s strength at home, you know this is being targeted at least once a week in the class. Again, find out what your child WANTS to do. What sports or activities are they drawn to?

 

 

 

 

 

Image via Activeforlife.com

As mentioned in earlier posts if you have serious concerns about your child’s strength please speak to your therapist, Physiotherapist or GP prior to beginning any exercise program.

That’s it everyone.. Your new goal is to have fun getting strong with your child! The more fun they have with you, the more they will want to engage in the activities and the stronger they will get!

 

Until next time,