This is the 1st in a series I hope to do about improving your child's fine motor skills. Today we're talking about core strength.
What does core strength have to with fine motor skills? Everything. If you lack stability in your core, you have to make up for it somewhere else: usually by using your hands & arms. It's pretty hard to balance yourself & draw at the same time.
I found a great article that gives a ton of detail on what fine motor should look like from birth up to age 6. If you have a child struggling with fine motor skills (like mine!) its worth the 10 minute read. Here's the link: Fine Motor Development
Everything I know about fine motor skills comes from the awesome training I had when I was a kindergarten teacher. The building OT's (that's Occupational Therapists for those of you who don't speak teacher) would sit down with us yearly & give suggestions on how to support the child in our classroom who struggled with fine motor issues. The info they have me was invaluable, not only for my classroom, but also for my own children.
My twins have had some mild fine motor issues since they could pick up a crayon; so, this hits home for me. We avoided private therapy only because I had all of these knowledgeable people to turn to in my work place that could give me advice on how to work on this at home. In hindsight, I could kind of go either way- maybe outside therapy would've helped & maybe they would've just told me what I already knew. You can't go back.
One of the biggest indicators of core strength for my boys was when I noticed they were w-sitting. A w-sit is where the child is sitting on his knees, with his feet turned out.
No adult could ever sit like this. He was sitting like this because he needed his feet to provide the stability that his core couldn't. Here's a great link to explain w-sitting & why you shouldn't let your kids do it: w-sitting
So what can you do about all of this? I'm hoping this series of posts can help. Let's start with some core exercises that you can quickly incorporate into your day.
Core Strengthing Exercises
Plank is all the rage right now & that's because it is the ultimate core workout. Straighten your arms like at the top of a push-up, without moving your arms lower your booty so your back is a straight line- like a plank- and then hold it. This one isn't easy & if you have a weak core, it's going to seem impossible at 1st. Keep at it, it get easier with time.
Just like plank but on your forearms.
Lie on your belly, face down. Then, at the same time, lift both your arms & legs while keeping your torso on the ground. Then hold as long as you can. This one works your low back- also part of your core :)
This is the reverse of Superman. Lie (is it lie or lay?) on your back and then lift both your arms & legs into a banana shape while keeping your low back on the ground. Hold.
Yep, you used to do this one when you were a kid. Grab a hold of your child's legs & have her walk on her hands around the house. You could even do a race. This one is upper body & core- bonus!
Crunches & Sit-ups
Good old-fashioned crunches & sit-ups work for this too.
Like any kind of exercise (or really anything), your child is going to be a more willing participant if it's fun. Don't be afraid to make it a game, we had timers to see who could hold the poses the longest. We also got down on the floor & did it with the boys. They thought it was super fun if they could beat us. Who couldn't use a little more core work? Especially if you've had as many babies as I have. It is bathing suit season. Oy.
Tune in next Friday, we're talking tripods :)
Share your fine motor fun with me! @preschoolmomma