Children of today seem to gravitate towards phones, tablets and computers with no hesitation. This is where they find music, games, books, educational programs and the list goes on. It truly is a digital world we live in. With this comes the postural and lifestyle changes that we are all aware of, less movement and sustained postures hunched over devices. Unfortunately this is not going to change in a hurry, so much of today's world relies on these devices including learning, entertainment & work.
With this in mind we have to come up with ways to combat the long term effects of using these devices. The Gross motor skills of children are suffering because of the time spent using technology and they are adopting sub-optimal postures. In short, Children are not out in the back yard running around as much as they used to. To counteract this we can try and get them doing some fun exercises to help improve posture and gross motor control.
Any movement is good movement, to optimize it however we should focus on promoting movement in the direction opposite to any sustained or repetitive positions. A prime example of this is to encourage arching, or extension of the back to reverse the sustained hunched over, or flexed position of sitting at a device. We also should aim to incorporate multi-directional movement, balance, hand eye coordination and stability.
Reverse posturing helps to counteract the hunched posture devices lure children into. Hanging and swinging activate muscles in an extended position and arching to pass a ball over head helps to stretch out a tight anterior chain (chest & shoulders).
Rolling helps to activate our core muscles and jumping is an essential gross motor skill.
A simple obstacle course can be fun, most importantly, and also challenge hand eye coordination along with balance and the ability to jump and land. Bear crawling requires rotational stability through core muscles and activation of the diagonal kinetic chain.
The above videos show a few different activities that children of all ages can perform to varying degrees. The options are endless. Make them fun and get out and enjoy the activities with them.
The Gap Physio