Does your child have difficulty learning or doing a new or unfamiliar task? Does he appear clumsy or avoid participating in sports or other physical activities? Does he have trouble coming up with new play ideas or knowing how to play with toys? If this sounds familiar, your child might have difficulty with motor planning. Motor planning is the ability of the brain to conceive of, organize, and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions. If your child needs help with motor planning, read on for 5 helpful tips.
5 Ways to Help Your Child with Motor Planning:
- Do activities that are composed of a series of steps (i.e. making a craft, making a sandwich, or creating an obstacle course). As you do this, help your child identify, plan, and execute the steps to promote the ability to sequence and map actions. Break down the steps to make them more manageable and attainable, which can build self-esteem.
- Determine what aspects of motor planning are a strength for your child (e.g. imitation, following verbal directions, timing, sequencing, coming up with ideas). Play to these strengths when doing activities with your child to compensate for the areas of difficulty.
- Engage your child in activities that involve climbing over, under and around large objects. For example, playing on playground equipment or coming up with obstacle courses will help your child gain basic knowledge of how to move his body through space.
- Encourage your child to come up with an idea for a new activity, or a new way to play with a toy or equipment, to promote motor planning.
- Play games that involve imitation (e.g. Follow the Leader, Itsy Bitsy Spider, etc…) to help your child to plan actions based on watching and copying peers.
For more information on motor planning, contact our occupational therapy department.