Balance, like many things, will only get better with practice and through challenging the balance systems. However, it can be hard to find time after school to work on balance activities when kids already have mountains of homework to keep up with. It can also be difficult to make balance exercises fun and enjoyable for kids.
In order to work on balance skills while saving time and keeping it interesting, here is a list of 5 balance activities that can easily be incorporated into your child’s before-school routine:
- Put pants, shoes, and socks on while standing up-This will require your child to stand on one leg while using her arms to don the clothing.
- Sit in ‘tall kneeling’ (sitting on knees with hips straight and knees kept at a 90 degree angle) while packing up the backpack-Sitting in the tall kneeling position narrows your child’s base of support, making it harder for her to maintain her balance. This posture also helps to strengthen her hip muscles, which are an important part of keeping her stable in positions that are challenging for her balance.
- Sit on a pillow while having breakfast-The pillow serves as an unstable surface, so your child will have to work hard to balance while sitting on it. This is a great way to work on core strength as well.
- Walk heel-to-toe on the way to the bus stop-Narrowing the base of support by walking heel to toe will challenge your child’s balance and help improve her balance when she performs dynamic movements such as running or walking.
- Brush teeth with eyes closed-Vision is a big component of balancing, and when you close your eyes you are no longer able to rely on that sense to balance. Your body instead will have to use its vestibular and proprioceptive systems to keep steady.
It is going to be important to supervise your child when beginning these balance activities, as they may be hard at first. If you have significant concerns about your child’s balance with daily activities or if you have balance-related safety concerns, you can contact an occupational or physical therapist at North Shore Pediatric Therapy. To find out more about the vestibular system read our blog To find out more about the proprioceptive system read our blog