Wednesday, January 18, 2017

How to help my child with Gross Motor Skills

You can make the difference if your child is struggling with his or her Gross Motor Skills. I have put together the learnings from our own research and experience on this topic so that you can help your child overcome this phase even if you are running low on budget.

For over 2 years, we went through many doctors, therapists (occupational, physical, etc.) and many other specialists (homeopaths, nutritionists, etc.), so I can give you a “highly effective summary” you can start bringing to life right away.

If you have taken your child to the pediatrician and neurologist, and they both have said there is no medical condition that could possibly explain your child’s Gross Motor Skills Delay, then there are 2 areas you need to work on to help your child:

1) The Emotional Front:
Guess what? Your child knows how you feel about him or her. So please STOP. The emotional factor is a huge driver for Gross Motor Skills, haven't you heard the expressions: "He was shaking like a leaf?" or "She was frozen with fear". It happens to be that our children express their emotions through their bodies. It is harder for them than for us because they don't yet know how to describe what they are feeling, so they have a super hard time dealing with these fears and anxieties on their own.
I’ve been right there where you are standing right now. I have felt sad because my child couldn’t do many simple things, like running, climbing the stairs without help or even jump without grabbing onto something. I felt confused and even angry. I lost my patience many times because she was so slow for some tasks. I was very worried and frightened because I did not know how to help my child. I did notice this Delayed Gross Motor Skills had turned into an issue because it was affecting her Social Skills. For example, she didn’t want to climb in the Play Area every time I took her to McDonald’s. Your emotions are not helping your child, you need to get rid of your anxiety.

ACCEPT AND LOVE YOUR CHILD FOR WHOM SHE OR HE IS TODAY. The painful truth is you are hurting your child’s self-confidence because your attitude is telling him or her: “you are not good enough” and “there is something wrong about you”. Hence, Bad News: you may be the root cause for his or her Gross Motor Skills Delay. Good News: you can fix it.
Above all, your child needs to feel loved, valued and accepted by you. Your child needs to know he or she is already “meeting your expectations” and that you are already super proud of him or her. 
So, in a nutshell: drop the nagging and start playing with your child.

2) The Physical-Body Front
There are many fun games you can play with children to help them overcome this Delay on his or her Gross Motor Skills. The key to success is to make it FUN for your child, so I suggest you make some mistakes when you play, letting your child win. It will help a lot his or her self-confidence:

Help improve your child’s Coordination Skills
  • Dance at home. 30 minutes a day will get you there. Get your child’s favorite songs in a playlist and have fun.
  • Catch ball. Try with a soccer ball sized ball and play first catch from rebound, throwing and kicking. It really helps when you show them the process for each movement: how they need to put their legs and move their arms.
  • I suggest you look for sports and activities that stimulate both sides of the body (left and right) simultaneously, like dancing and swimming. It encourages a healthier brain development.  
Help you child have better Balance
  • Stand on one foot for as long as you can. Make it a contest. It will be fun for your child if you fall and laugh about it while you lay on the floor.
  • Balance Bike. I got one for my child even though she was 4.5 years old when she started and she really enjoys riding her bike while I try to catch her. A Scooter can help too.
Help your child develop Muscle Strength
Children with Delayed Gross Motor Skills tend to be less active and need to be motivated. 
  • Take your child to Indoor Playgrounds. Climb and jump with your child. The inflatable attractions are great for agility and Balance Skills too.
  • McDonald’s and Chik-fil-A allow parents to climb their play area. I encourage you to do it because your child will follow you. You will have to do this a few times before your child climbs on his or her own without asking you to join him or her.
  • Swim. If you can, take your child for a swim on the weekends and have fun playing in the water together.

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