23 Jul Five ways to help your child be more body aware
Body Awareness – Why is it important?
Learning about the body and having a greater awareness of the body encourages young children to be more in sync with their physical and emotional needs. Occupational therapists often use body awareness exercises on neurodivergent children such as kids with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, ADD or OCD. But there is ample evidence that kids all learn better while moving and being in touch with all their senses.
In a world where kids are expected to sit still, sit at desks or for kids who are glued to their screens a little too much it’s important to incorporate fun physical exercise into their daily routine.
Here are some ideas:
- Simon Says is a fantastic game to encourage body awareness while being great fun. It’s also great for teaching the difference between the right and the left “Simon Says… touch your left hand to your right ear”.
- Drawing our feelings. Ask kids to draw how they feel that day. Suggest a self portrait so that they can draw their own bodies and point out any parts of their drawing that they might have concerns about.
- Singing and dancing. “Head, shoulders, knees and toes.” is a firm classic and gets their little hearts pumping. Music and dance engages their brains and releases feel-good hormones. Children become open to learning new things, like sounds, words and patterns through music and song.
- Playing with balloons. These inexpensive wonders are always a hit with children as they behave in fun, unpredictable ways. Try using your hand to play tennis with your toddler. Don’t let it touch the ground!
- Yoga for kids. Yoga improves balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic fitness in children. And it doesn’t stop at yoga. Tai chi, is a traditional Chinese, noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercises. Both disciplines help with stretching, breath control and body awareness.
References to check out:
Learning Dance Improves Everything: So why aren’t all American parents demanding dance be in their kids’ curriculum? https://escholarship.org/uc/item/9nn6s65m
Kids Yoga Research Study on Use of Yoga Tools in Classrooms.