Strategies to Promote Increased Trunk Control at Home and at School

As discussed in my previous blog, our trunk muscles (“core”) greatly influence how we move through our environment and how we engage in gross motor and fine motor activities throughout the day.  Below are a few simple ways to include trunk strengthening into your child’s daily routine.

Trunk Control Activities For Your Child:

  • Make sure that your child is seated at a table/chair that fits him so that he can maintain an erect posture throughout the tabletop activity (e.g. feet girl slouchingflat on floor, knees and elbows at 90 degree angle)
  • Use a sensory cushion at the table or during circle time if your child demonstrates increased fidgeting, decreased awareness of personal space (e.g. propping/leaning on peers), or propping on elbows.  A sensory cushion helps to give your child a boundary of where his body should be and allows him a little bit of “wiggle room” to move his body without disturbing others, and without having to get up and move around during the task at hand
  • Practice yoga or animal walks as a sensory break or as a transition activity (e.g. “tree pose”- single leg balance; “crab walks”, “Wheelbarrow walks”).  Yoga and animal walks require attention, following directions, motor planning, trunk control, strength and endurance.
  • Use an exercise ball as a chair during tabletop activities.  This helps the child to work on balance and stabilizing his trunk (“core”) muscles.
  • Practice extracurricular and sporting activities during the summertime (e.g. swimming, ballet, gymnastics, and climbing at the park).  These activities require trunk control, along with upper and lower body strength.

Note:  Remember to contact an occupational therapist or your child’s primary care physician if you have immediate concerns about your child’s trunk control.

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