What do we mean by strength and coordination?
Let's start by defining what we mean by strength. We're not talking about strength/conditioning programs (like those seen in high schools) that focus on developing specific muscle groups for preschool and kindergarten kids. On the other hand, young children require overall strength 'to' participate in a variety of activities, enjoy them, have confidence in their ability to "do things," and have the power to "do things" - especially new things.
Another talent that develops "on its own" as children explore their bodies and the surroundings is coordination. For example, when babies start putting their fingers together, reaching for their toes, and reaching for things, their eye-hand coordination develops. Then, as babies learn to roll over, sit, crawl, stand, and walk, their overall coordination improves. So when we say coordination, we mean a set of planned and timed movements to occur in a specific order to achieve a particular goal.
What are the benefits of balance and coordination?
Balance and coordination that is adequate for the child's age help them participate in sports with a tolerable degree of success. It aids fluid body movement for physical skill performance (e.g., walking a balance beam or playing football). Sports participation aids in developing a social network and a sense of belonging in a community or social context, as well as self-regulation for daily chores. It also aids youngsters in developing and maintaining adequate regulated body movement during job performance, which, when done correctly, reduces the amount of energy required and reduces fatigue.
Injury is less likely when a child has adequate balance and coordination because the youngster is more likely to have proper postural responses when needed. Balance and coordination are also physical characteristics that allow for appropriate posture for tabletop tasks and fine motor skills.
What are the components required for the development of strength and coordination?
Body Awareness: Understanding body parts and how they move in space to other limbs and things to negotiate the environment or improve ball and bike skills.
Bilateral integration: Using two hands together with one hand leading: clutching a tennis racquet with the non-dominant hand holding and stabilizing just between hits.
Hand-eye coordination: The ability to manage, guide, and steer the hands to complete a task such as handwriting or catching a ball by processing information received from the eyes.
Hand Dominance: The use of one (typically the same) hand for task performance, which is required to develop sophisticated skills.
Sensory processing: The accurate processing of sensory stimulation in the surroundings and our bodies to respond to move quickly and physically appropriately.
Isolated movement: The capacity to move one arm or leg without affecting the rest of the body's body to move finely.
What other issues can arise when a youngster struggles with balance and coordination?
When a youngster has problems with balance and coordination, they may also have problems with:
Muscle tone that is 'floppy' or 'rigid': Floppy muscles make the limbs appear limp, while too 'tight' muscles make the limbs appear rigid.
Physical (fine and gross motor) endurance is low.
Pre-writing skill development: most letters, numbers, and early drawings are clumsy or hefty pencil strokes.
Pencil grasp: When drawing and writing, the efficiency of the pencil, as well as the way it is gripped, is frequently jeopardized (too loose or excessively tight and heavy in pressure).
Hand dominance: The use of one (typically the same) hand for task performance, which is required to develop sophisticated skills.
What are some activities that can help your child improve their balance and coordination?
Unstable surfaces: Walking on unsteady surfaces (e.g., pillows, bean bags, or blankets on the floor) forces the trunk to work harder to stay upright.
Moving activities such as hanging climbing ladders and jungle gyms, as well as erratic swings. Swings that shift in unexpected ways put more strain on the trunk muscles.
Wheelbarrow walking (a youngster 'walks' on their hands while an adult lifts their legs off the ground).
Swimming: Requires the body to struggle against the resistance of the water, resulting in a greater awareness of its position in space.
Kneeling (without touching the ground) to return a balloon to another person.
Hopscotch: This game requires the youngster to change their movement patterns frequently and quickly.
Games involving stepping stones with large jumps (i.e., no steps between the 'stones') test a child's balance.
Bike and scooter: Both activities necessitate constant postural modifications for the youngster to stay balanced.
When considering and planning for young children's strength and coordination, we must keep in mind that, as with all developmental concerns, there will be individual disparities, and growth will occur at its own pace. We can't "force" change; we can only help it by providing the right environment for each child as they progress along the developmental spectrum. If you are looking for occupational therapy please follow Occupational Therapy by Daffodil Health
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