Everything in this world, whether living or non-living requires a strong core and base of support for its optimum functioning, be it a building, or a tree. Similarly, a child also requires a strong core to be able to participate in its activities of daily living effectively.
If the child doesn’t have core strength, it affects the position of their every joint, from head, neck, shoulder, elbow, and fingers. It acts as an anchor to everything that a child does.
What is Core Strength?
The core muscles in the body refer to as the muscles that surround the abdomen, back and pelvis. The help in stabilization, alignment and to move the trunk of the body. It helps the child to maintain the upright position while sitting or standing.
A Child With Poor Core Strength Usually:
- They slouch their body and take support of either desk or chair while writing. They also may lean over their elbows, or support their chin with hand, or support the head. You can also see a child lying on the table with extended arm that reaches over in the front of the desk.
- Teachers often give feedback that they are not attentive during the class, they day dream, and are not active or alert. Their focus is affected and can be easily distractible, they may have difficulty in learning as well. While writing, they may get fatigued easily and often may ask for rest periods. There are children who have difficulty in maintain upright position and like wiggling their fingers and moving around in their seats. Even this can affect the handwriting of a child.
- Children also have difficulty in copying from the board if the core strength is affected. They have difficulty in visual perceptual skills with regards to visual shift while copying from the board. Looking up and back down again can be difficult for these students with the repeated flexion and extension of the neck. This can result in skipped words, letters, and phrases as well as poor margin use, line awareness, and spatial awareness when writing and copying written work.
- Children who have poor core strength also have difficulty in playing on swings, slides, monkey bars and other outdoor games. They have difficulty in going up and down and they don’t really enjoy rough play.
How Can am I Able to Improve My Child’s Core Strength and Postural Control?
There are a lot of simple and fun activities that you can do to get your child improve his core strength.
• Wheelbarrow walking races (where the child ‘walks’ on their hand and adults hold their feet off the ground) to develop upper body.
• Create an obstacle course by including unstable surfaces, e.g. Pillows – this sort of activity requires strength and can also help to extend your child’s endurance.
• Play animal walks by pretending to be a variety of animals such as crabs, frogs, bears, duck, worms, or kangaroos! All of those use the child’s body weight as resistance.
• Set up a mini ‘core strength circuit’, and have your child complete:
– Superman or Aeroplanes where your child stretches out while laying on their tummy. Try to lift arms and legs off the ground with hands facing forward and palms down.
• Plank positions:
– Four point kneel, where your child assumes a crawling position on hands and knees. Have them extend opposite arm and leg for 5 sec each – try to increase the time held each set!
– Elbow plank, where your child uses their elbows/forearms and toes for support.
Make sure their back is straight, and their bottom doesn’t slouch down or extend upward.
Time how long they can hold this for and increase the time duration eventually.
• Encourage your child to try new equipment at the playground, e.g., swings, climbing, monkey bars, slides and poles are all activities that assist in increasing core strength.
- Enroll your child in swimming to increase the coordination, core strength and postural control.
• Encourage your child so sit with correct posture during seated activities