Posts

Gross Motor Skills and Dance

Dance has always been a fun and exciting recreational activity for children of all ages. Along with the enjoyment of dancing to upbeat music and the social experience, dance is also a great way to help develop your child’s gross motor skills. Read on for 4 aspects of your child’s motor skills that can be facilitated with dance lessons and performance of any style.

4 Gross Motor Benefits to Dance:

  1. Balance-Many dance moves incorporate balancing on one leg, standing with feet right next to each other or standing with one foot in front of the other. All of these positions are challenging for your child’s balance systems, which help to strengthen her balancing abilities.
  2. Coordination-While learning to dance, your child will begin by learning different dance moves and positions. Most positions involve different placement of all 4 limbs, which requires a lot of coordination. Also, once your child learns a dance routine with multiple dance positions sequenced together, she will need to coordinate the entire routine. Read more

Zumba for Kids

We all know the many benefits of exercise for people of all ages: physical fitness, endurance, strength, coordination, and zumba for kidsmotor planning.  However, making physical fitness a regular part of daily routines can be a real challenge not only for adults, but also for children.  Many children who live more sedentary lifestyles require more motivation to get moving, since it has become their habit to be still.   So what is the trick to increasing kid’s enthusiasm for fitness and getting sedentary kids off the couch?  It’s simple: FUN!  Fitness for children, just like any other children’s programming, should be fun, socially appealing and inviting!

A common activity that many families find enjoyable for all ages is Zumba!  Zumba is a dance-fitness combination that includes culturally diverse music and various elements of dance and cardio, including Hip Hop, Latin dancing, and traditional aerobics.  Zumba is a wonderfully unique fitness program that is set off by its enjoyable, party-like scene.  The bright, bold wardrobe colors, loud music, and rhythmic beats create an energetic and enticing place to get fit.  Zumba is also great for kids! Read more

Navigating the Playground with a 2-Year-Old

Summer is a great time to explore the playground with your child. Playgrounds provide a fun and exciting playground with toddlerenvironment that gets your child outside and active. Children of all ages can enjoy a playground in many different ways.

Read on for specific tips to navigating the playground with a two-year-old:

  • Choose the right time of day to play.  Pick a time of day when peers of a similar age will be at the park. Older kids play differently, and it’s best to have your little one playing with children his own age.
  • Climb the stairs and uneven surfaces. A two-year-old is expected to be able to climb stairs independently and walk over uneven surfaces without losing balance. The park is a great place to practice these skills. If your toddler is a little unsteady on the wobbly bridge, hold their hand to increase confidence.
  • Go down the slide. Depending on your toddler’s confidence and the size of the slide, you can either hold them on the way down, or let them slide down by themselves. Many parks have smaller slides that are good for beginners.
  • Play in the sand. This will help to develop your toddler’s fine motor skills and tactile sensory processing. If you can, try and build a castle or mountain to help develop spatial skills.
  • Ride the spring-animals (the kind you sit on that wobble). This will help improve your child’s balance and strength while having fun!

Parks are a great environment to encourage your kids to get outside and play. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, playgrounds help to foster social skills, build friendships, and support a healthy lifestyle.

The Importance of Swimming Skills

Swimming was always one of my favorite activities as a child, which is why so many of my childhood memories from mysummer swimming chicago summers off of school take place at the neighborhood pool or at one of Chicago’s beautiful beaches. Aside from the fact that spending a day at the pool is a fun way to pass the hot days of summer, swimming has many other benefits for your child’s development. Below is a list of the top reasons why learning to swim is so important for your child.

Reasons Swimming Skills are Critical for your Child:

  • Strengthening: Negotiating the water requires your child to use all of her muscles. From her core to her arms and legs, your kid will become stronger while playing against the resistance provided by the water.
  • Coordination: Swimming requires a lot of coordination! While each swimming stroke is different, they all require simultaneous movement from your child’s arms and legs in different directions. As your child learns how to swim using a variety of swimming strokes, she is learning how to coordinate multiple movements from multiple body parts at the same time.
  • Sensory input: Swimming is a great way to get a lot of sensory input. The water itself provides deep pressure input to the whole body. The constant sensation of the water can help to decrease tactile sensitivity that your child may experience out of the water. The water also provides proprioceptive input to the body, which can help your child’s body awareness and the body’s position in space. Lastly, the changing position of your child’s head that is required with swimming provides vestibular input, which will help your child strengthen that sensory input both in and out of the water.
  • Safety: Being able to negotiate the water safely is an extremely important skill for your child to learn. While you can never predict what situation your child may encounter in the water, being able to swim, as well as being able to tread water, is the best way for your child to be prepared in challenging and potentially unsafe  water situations. However, it should be emphasized that no matter how strong of a swimmer your child is, all swimming and play activities around the water should be supervised by an adult.

Happy swimming this summer!

Summer Training for Fall Gaining

As summer begins, summer plans take shape.  Hopefully these plans involve lots of fun and sunshine.  Summer should be an enjoyable and exciting time for all children and their families, but it is important to remember to also focus on children’s growth and development.  Sometimes during the break from school, skills gained in an educational or summer therapytherapeutic setting can be lost.  It is important to remember that summer is a great time to keep working on skill development, therapeutic goals, and preparing each child for the challenges of the upcoming school year.

Research continues to show that consistent and high intensity therapy (two or three times per week) results in faster and better functional outcomes for daily skills.  With a more relaxed schedule, summer is a perfect time to increase therapy intensity and have fun building the skills children will need for the new school year.

Specific areas of focus in the summer to prepare for school:

North Shore Pediatric Therapy wants to help your child gain the confidence and independence to conquer all age appropriate tasks! Summer spots are limited. Call us at 877-486-4140 and let us know how we can best support you and your child!

3 Outdoor Activities to Promote Speech & Language Development

Summer is finally here!  Take advantage of this time of year, and enjoy the time outdoors with your child with these 3 speech and languageeasy activities to promote speech and language skills outside.  Remember, learning and development don’t always happen at the table.  In fact, learning and development are often best accomplished in the context of engaging play and multi-sensory activities.  So take the learning outdoors and enjoy spending time with your child in the summer sun!

Outdoor Speech and Language Activities:

  1. Plan a nature scavenger hunt.  Write 10 clues on a brown paper bag (or present the clues verbally if your child is not yet reading), and encourage your child to find each of the 10 items.  For example, a clue might be “I am green, and I grow in the ground” or “I am all different colors, and I smell very good.”  If you live in the city and have limited access to nature items, use a digital camera to capture items on the list.  This activity promotes reading, listening, categorization, and memory. Read more

3 Tips to Encourage Your Baby to Sit Independently

Sitting independently is a wonderful and fun new milestone for every baby. It is the first time your little one is upright and able to look around.  In the sitting position, babies have both hands free to play with toys.  Although there is a healthy range of ages for a child to achieve the milestone of sitting independently, a good rule of thumb is that a baby should sit independently for longer than a minute at six months of age. If  your baby needs some encouragement to sit on her own, there are strategies you can use to help. Read more

Types of Shoes that Will Discourage Toe Walking

Some children may walk on their toes nearly 100% for no apparent reason. This is known as idiopathic (the reason for it is unknown) toe walking. toe walker shoesIdiopathic toe walking may result in muscle shortening in the calf muscles. In turn, it will continue to promote toe walking. Many cases of toe walking require intervention from a professional; however there are still some things at home that you can do in order to help decrease the frequency of toe walking. One such thing is the type of shoe you purchase for your child.

Below is a list of shoes that can help reduce your child’s desire to walk on his or her toes:

  • Flat shoes: Avoid putting your child in wedge shoes or shoes with any sort of heel. These types of shoes place the foot in a position where the calf muscles are in a shortened position, which can result in them becoming tighter and facilitate more toe walking.
  • Squeaky shoes: There are some footwear brands that design shoes with squeakers in the heels. Every time your child walks down on their heels, they will hear the squeak. These shoes can be a lot of fun for kids (although they may not be as much fun for parents!). 
  • Shoes with high backs: There are some gym shoes that are designed to have a higher backing compared to other shoes. If a child is wearing these shoes and is walking on his or her toes, the shoe back will press up against the Achilles tendon, which can be uncomfortable for the child. Since these shoes make it uncomfortable for a child to toe walk, these shoes help facilitate walking on flat feet.
  • Light up shoes: Shoes that light up often have the lights towards the back of the shoe by the heel. If a child appropriately walks with feet flat on the ground, the lights will light up more than if the child walks up on toes.

While all of these options can be helpful in discouraging toe walking, your child may continue to walk on his or her toes. If your child toe walks the majority of the time and is over 2 years old, it would be beneficial to speak with your pediatrician and physical therapist to determine if further intervention is needed.

Click here to watch part 1 of the 2 minute Toe Walkers Webisode 

Click here to watch part 2 of the 2 minute Toe Walkers Webisode 

When Should My Child Be Able To Go Up and Down Stairs?

The thought of your child going up and down a flight of stairs independently may be quite a very alarming thought, especially for kid on stairs
parents of new walkers; however, learning to negotiate the stairs is an important part in your child’s strength and motor development.

Below is a guideline of ages at which your child should be developing stair skills:

  • 10-15 months-Around the time your child starts to walk, he/she should be able to completely climb up at least 2 stairs on hands and knees.
  • 15-18 months-Shortly after learning to climb up the stairs on hands and knees, your child should be able to go down the stairs in the same manner. At this age, your child should also be able to begin walking up the stairs using a railing or your hand for additional support. He/she will likely be using a step-to pattern in which he/she places both feet on each step.
  • 18-20 months-By the time your child is this age, he/she should be able to walk down the stairs as well, placing both feet on each step and using a railing for support.
  • 2 years-At this age, it is typical for a child to walk up the stairs without any support from the parent or a wall/railing, but still putting both feet on each step before proceeding to the next step.
  • 3 years-When your child is around 3 years of age, he/she should now be able to walk up the stairs using a reciprocal pattern, placing only one foot on each step, without requiring the use of a railing for support.
  • 4 years-Your child should now be able to go both up and down stairs using a reciprocal pattern and no rail.
As with all new and challenging gross motor skills, it is vital to make sure that your child is supervised and safe while completing the task. If you have concerns with your child’s ability to negotiate stairs at home or in the community, be sure to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist at NSPT.

Infant Reflexes: What They Are and When They Are Normal

There are a number of reflexes that your infant will exhibit. Some children develop reflexes during gestation and they go away shortly baby foot reflexafter birth. Other children may not develop until later in their life and the reflexes may remain forever. Reflexes that do not develop on time or reflexes that do not integrate (go away) at the appropriate age may impact your child’s development. In addition, it can also be a sign of neurological problems, therefore, it is a good idea to know what they are and when they are considered normal. Below is a list of important early infant reflexes and the time-frame in which you can expect to see them.

Early Reflexes:

  • Sucking-swallowing reflex: When a finger is placed in the child’s mouth, the infant will reflexively begin to suck in a rhythmical pattern:
    • Starts: 28 weeks gestation
    • Integrates: 3 months Read more

Physical Therapy Posts

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria