Ever wonder why your kids are bouncing off the walls and their behaviors are up and down? Their sensory systems are craving some engagement! Children learn through their senses and it’s important for them to play. With this, the sensory input is processed which then improves their physical coordination, emotional maturity, social skills, and self-confidence to try new experiences. The sensory processing of the proprioceptive, vestibular, and tactile systems allows children to explore new environments and maintain regulated and attentive behaviors. Let’s look at the proprioceptive system.
Your proprioceptive system uses your muscle and joints to know where our body is in space. It lets us know how hard to throw a ball or how to coordinate bringing a cup to our mouths. This “sixth sense” is also used for calming and regulating the sensory system. Some signs that your child is seeking proprioceptive input include: biting/chewing non-food items, heavy pressure on writing utensils, prefers to run/jump/stomp when walking, banging body parts (hands, head on the wall, throwing self on the floor), and may play rougher than others.
Here are some heavy work activities that engage the proprioceptive system and help provide the needed physical activity for kids to grow:
- Animal Walks (crab walk, frog leaps, gorilla walks, bear crawl, bunny hops, whale swims)
- Helping with yard work
- Obstacle course (can be done inside or outside)
- Chores such as vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, carrying a laundry basket, etc.
- Push up/sit up competitions
- Blowing bubbles or straws (works on heavy work through oral motor skills)
- Washing the car
- Pushing/pulling like a grocery cart, wagon, stroller, etc.
Proprioceptive – best practice. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://sensory-processing.middletownautism.com/sensory-strategies/strategies-according-to-sense/proprioceptive/