Balance is essential for participating in many daily tasks as well as maintaining proper posture for tabletop activities. It is also crucial for involvement in physical activities that children may partake in at school, during gym class, or at recess.
Here are ways your child can improve their skills with fun activities or during their daily routine.
Fun Activities to Help Your Child Improve Balance Skills
Hopscotch is a simple and easy game to play to help improve your child’s balance. Play it indoors by putting tape on the floor or outdoors by drawing it out with chalk out on the sidewalk. Throw an object onto one of the spaces. When your child gets to the object, they have to bend down and pick it up while keeping their balance.
Start a dance party at home with your child’s favorite music. When the music stops, everyone should stay in the position they are in and hold it until the music starts again. This activity will help challenge the body’s ability to stop quickly when they’re moving.
Yoga poses – tree pose, airplane pose, boat pose, crescent moon pose, eagle pose, and mountain pose – are great for challenging your child’s stability as well as cultivating body awareness and relaxation.
Create an obstacle course at home. Make a trail of pillows that your child has to balance on while getting to each activity. Double up on the pillows and vary the spacing between them to increase the challenge.
Stand on One Foot
There are many ways to make balancing on one foot more fun than just standing in place. Try playing balloon volleyball using only one foot. Knock objects over and place then upright again without putting your foot down. Or, make picking up dirty clothes into a game by having your child lift the clothes into the laundry basket with the top of one foot.
Have your child walk across a balance beam or use tape on the ground to practice heel-to-toe walking. Use either or both as part of an obstacle course. Challenge your child by having them walk heel-to-toe forward and backward, or sidestep on the beam.
Place stepping stones or floor markers around the house. Then have your child take giant steps to get to the next one without any steps in between.
Find a park near you that has a jungle gym with different types of climbing structures, such as a rock-climbing wall or suspended climbing ladders.
You can purchase a balance board or make your own using a flat surface made of wood with a ball or 5-7” PVC or ABS pipe with thick walls placed underneath it. Quiz your child on math facts or spelling words while they try to keep their footing on the board!
Balance on a Trampoline
If you have a trampoline at home, have your child stand on one foot. To further challenge them, have someone walk on the trampoline while they still try to keep their balance.
Ways Your Child Can Improve Balance In Their Daily Routine
During the school year, it’s harder to find time to plan and execute activities to work on your child’s balance, so here are some ways you can incorporate balance activities into your child’s daily routine:
Encourage your child to put their pants on while standing up.
Have your child stand on one foot while they brush their teeth before school and at night. The act of moving their arm to brush and holding their balance will be a great challenge for them!
Walking to Bus Stop
There are many ways to challenge your child’s balance while walking to the bus stop, such as hopping on one foot, walking backward (with parent supervision) or walking heel-to-toe (if you have the extra time to get to the stop).
If your child has a scooter, have them ride it to the bus stop by balancing on one foot and propelling the scooter with the other.
Have your child sit on an exercise ball, wobble stool, or pillow to challenge their core while reading their favorite book before bed.
About Skills 4 Life:
Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services in the Boulder & Denver area to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at www.skills4lifeot.com, or you can contact our office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 303.351.1828 for a free consultation.
Skills 4 Life’s Favorite School Supplies
With endless options for school supplies, it can be overwhelming to know what to purchase. We work with many students who have overly complicated systems, making it difficult for students to stay organized and find what is needed quickly and easily.
Here are our top school supply picks to create a simple, unified system that students in middle and high school can use:
Every day students are taught information they are expected to learn, process, and apply during testing. But, if students aren’t retaining what they’re hearing in lectures or reading in books, they won’t be able to recall the information and use it in real life.
Writing accurate notes and creating effective study guides is an important tool for students to learn. Yet, note taking isn’t part of the academic curriculum in many schools, and parents and teachers often overlook this key study skill.
Therefore, we must teach our students strong note taking strategies to help them excel in school and life.
Abbreviations Increase Note-Taking Efficiency & Recall
Writing accurate notes and creating useful study guides are essential tools for students to learn.
Studies show that students who implement solid note-taking strategies take higher quality notes and recall information better. This is especially true for students with learning disabilities.
Students can increase their note-taking efficiency by writing in short sentences and using abbreviations.
An abbreviation is a shortened version of a word or phrase. Abbreviations allow a student to write down critical points quickly so they can listen more and write less.
As a result, students can absorb valuable information in real time and then memorize it later using their notes.
Top 3 Tips to Help Your Child Manage Test Anxiety
This guest post is written by Dr. Aviva Bass-Huh, a licensed clinical psychologist in Boulder, CO.
We all want our children to do well at school and it can be frustrating when you watch your child show up and do the work but then not test well. For many students, test anxiety hinders their ability to perform. When children are anxious, it affects how they think, what they feel in their bodies and what they do. These three parts interact, and a change in one influences the others.
For example, just hearing about an upcoming test can trigger the fear of failure and paralyzing self-doubt in a child. If the student thinks they’ll get a bad grade, they may become nauseous and start to fidget. As a result, their anxiety escalates further, and the child feels like all the material they’ve learned has slipped out of their mind, preventing their ability to perform well on the test.
This cycle is fairly common. Fortunately, there are some simple steps students can take to manage their test anxiety. Here’s the top three ways your child can harness their anxiety and use it to perform better on exams:
Children are taught new information every day in school, but in order for it be meaningful or useful, they have to be able to remember what they learn and apply it in different contexts.
Improve Your Study Skills for Lifelong Learning
Studying teaches children (and adults) how to grasp concepts efficiently – a skill that they’ll use in the classroom as well as the boardroom. Therefore, study skills aren’t just important for acing this semester’s test, they’re also important for how we learn throughout our life.
The best way to develop effective study skills is through strategy and practice. So, let’s discuss some of best strategies for building strong study skills: (more…)
Carrying too many heavy books to school may not be smart. When your child uses an overweight backpack or doesn’t carry it correctly, it can cause damage to their back and shoulders, and create long-term health issues.
Learn Our Best Test-Taking Tips
The end of the semester is approaching fast, which means it’s exam time!
Guarantee success using these simple test-taking tips that can help students regulate their nerves, and improve processing speed and information recall!
Use these techniques for success on ANY exam: (more…)
Does your child incorporate proofreading as part of their written work? Most of my students think that as soon as they put their final ending punctuation mark on their writing, it’s done!
The ability to assess and correct one’s own performance is a metacognitive skill. When students have a weakness in this area, they may neglect to proofread and check their work. Some students have difficulty staying on topic and veer off in a different direction or go on a tangent, losing sight of their topic or goal. Others make careless errors by rushing through their work or not paying attention to details.
Tips for Successful Proofreading:
Having gone through school before the age of personal computers, I had to do research the old-fashioned way- at the library. And let me tell you, it required significantly more planning and work!
First, you had to plan to get to the library while it was open. Then, you had to physically search for books and articles and hope that they weren’t checked out by another student. Once you’d found the materials you needed, you then had to make sure you had enough dimes for the photocopy machine. Oh, and remember scrolling through miles of microfiche? Was I the only one who got dizzy and nauseous every time? (more…)