What is core strength?
Core strength involves abdominal muscles, but it also includes muscles of the back and pelvis. Core strength helps you bend forward, stand up straight, rotate your body to twist left and right, and bend side to side.
Why is core strength important to my child?
Core strength not only helps you keep proper posture, but it also helps motor development from birth throughout life. In infancy core strength is necessary for tummy time and as your baby grows it is important for crawling, walking, and jumping. Some less obvious skills that core strength is needed for include fine motor skills, tool use, and attention.
What are signs of core weakness in children?
- Slumped or slouched posture
- W sitting (Children often find ways to compensate for core weakness, one way is W sitting. W sitting is when children sit on their bottom with their legs curled up and their feet beside their bottom. This position gives them a lot of support when sitting so they do not have to rely on core muscles to maintain an upright position. W sitting can cause knee pain, in-toeing, and puts your child at an increased risk for hip dysplasia.) https://www.cdchk.org/parent-tips/truth-about-w-sitting/
- Resting their head and/or torso on a tabletop while sitting
- Propping their head up on their hand
- Poor attention
- Excessive fidgeting and moving when sitting in a chair
- Sitting at a table with legs crossed or up underneath them.
- Difficulty with, a lack of interest or rushing through fine motor tasks including buttoning, holding a pencil, coloring, writing, and cutting
- Difficulty, a lack of interest, or rushing through balance tasks including standing on one foot, riding a bike, and maintaining static poses like in yoga.
- Difficulty getting up and down from the ground
- Doesn’t like rough and tumble play
What can I do at home to improve my child’s core strength?
- Animal walks (crab walk, bear walk, army crawl, wheelbarrow walk)
- Balloon toss (with feet): have your child lay on their back and prop themselves up on their elbows. Toss a balloon to them and have them keep it off the ground by kicking it in the air with their feet.
- Engage in play in different positions. This could include puzzles, coloring, messy play with shaving cream, etc. In non-traditional positions including on hands knees, or lying on their stomach. You could also have them play with toys on a coffee table or small stool while in the tall knee position.
- Natural play on jungle gyms, Climbing, sliding, swinging, see-saws, monkey bars, etc. are fun ways to work on core strengths.
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