Body movement as a construct is something that we must inculcate in our children from a very early age. Several developmental milestones for children have body movement and locomotive abilities as an important part, making it even more imperative to engage and encourage such movements in our children. Everything is part of body movement, from walking and crawling to stomping feet and dancing around. How can we as parents encourage body movement activities in our children? This blog takes a deep dive into children’s milestones from a very young age and how parents can work towards promoting body movement in their children.
Have we ever tried to think of a life where all we had to do was sit in one place and do everything from that place? Body movement is defined as the ability of an individual to move their body parts in a more rhythmic fashion, which plays a crucial role in keeping our bodies energised to the best possible capacity. Body movement is not only in terms of the basic movements we use in everyday life but also the sort of movements that keep our bodies flexible and active.
Children start engaging in some form of movement from the tender age of a few months. Body movements are a pivotal part of our motor skills and become an integral part of our child’s overall development. Body movement such as gripping an object with our hand plays a role in maintaining rhythm with the music, maintaining rhythm with the music, eye-hand coordination, bringing out the very role of encouraging our child to be more bodily proactive and engage in movement-based activities.Ensuring that the body is in constant motion makes certain the maintenance of homeostasis within our body and even a slight change in situations around us. The body must find effective ways to interact with the situation, which thereby encourages and nurtures their creative minds.
Types of body movements for a variety of age ranges
Table 1: Age specific body movements which are developmentally appropriate
|Age range||Movements that can be encouraged|
|0-6 months||*Pushing feet forward|
*Touching the face using activities such a peekaboo
*Rocking or swinging them to strengthen their head and spine area
|6-12 months||*Allow them to climb or crawl around|
*Encourage exploration around the house
*Engage in stretching activities by putting toys out of reach
|12-18 months||* Go out for walks and encourage more exploration|
*Undertake more activities where he or she needs to hold things
* Engage in more physical activities such as running and jumping
|18-24 months||*Allow them to walk around, run or jump in areas which can be supervised|
*Create a safe and supervised obstacle course
*Engage them in dancing or rhythmic body movement
|24-36 months||*Engage them in shadow-based play|
*Engage them in leader-based activities where they must move their bodies
*Allow them to perform household chores.
Table 1 showing the age-appropriate body movement skills for children.
1. Start from the basics:
Each child has a learning speed and engages in motor-based activities; hence we must start from the beginning. With a younger kid, let us try by hand stretching towards visually stimulating objects such as their favorite toy or their favorite storybook. This can then be extended to other objects around the house.
2. Keep time and patience:
Children may get easily distracted when they start, and as frustrating it might be for us to keep trying, it is as frustrating at that moment for the child to keep doing a single thing when the whole world is out there for them to explore. Keeping our patience intact and ensuring that we give this at least a minimum of one hour a day.
3. Trust the process:
There will be a lot of failures on the way to achieving what we want. Sometimes, our child falls while cycling or scrapes their knee while running. This, however, does not mean that we give up; obstacles will always follow us around; hence, maintaining trust in the process and what we are doing for our child is very important.
4. Ensure that the child is rewarded for the goals:
Children often need concrete rewards or appreciation for the hard work they put in, and the development of body movement skills is indeed an essential part of their growth; hence as a parent, we must ensure that the child is duly reinforced for their hard work, however, in variable frequency which thereby works towards positive parent child relationships. Body movement as a skill and a milestone helps keep the body active and makes us flexible and facilitates improvement in memory, perception, language, attention, emotion, and decision making. This makes the need to encourage more body movement-based activities in children even more pivotal.