What is Core Strength?
The body’s core refers to the muscles that surround the abdomen, pelvis and back. Core strength is the foundation for children to be able to assume and maintain an upright posture while sitting or standing without support. If a child does not have a strong core, it will affect their head, shoulder, elbow, wrist and finger positioning. If a child has poor core strength, they will have difficulty in controlling fine motor skills such as handwriting and participating in gross motor activities like PE, recess, school sports and other extracurricular activities.
Why is it Important?
At school, an incorrect posture when writing means a child’s body is doing more work than it needs to. This can lead to fatigue and pain. A child with poor core strength usually:
• Slouches when writing and may use the chair to support all aspects of their body
• Holds their head up with their non-writing hand
• Leans far into the table to gain support while sitting
• Moves around in their seat a lot
• Fatigues easily and may require frequent rest breaks during writing and physical activities
• Experiences difficulty on playground equipment such as slides, poles, see-saws and swings – needs to exert more effort than their peers
• Struggles to get up and down off the ground
• Doesn’t like to participate in rough and tumble play
What Can I Do To Help My Child?
Simple and fun activities that help build up your child’s core strength can be easily incorporated into their daily routine. Try to include these exercises and games into your child’s weekly routine:
• Wheelbarrow walking races (where the child “walks” on their hand and adults hold their feet off the ground) to develop upper body strength. Measure how far you can go!
• Create an obstacle course by including unstable surfaces (e.g. pillows) – this type of activity requires strength and will also help to increase your child’s endurance. Time how fast they can go!
• Play animal walks by pretending to be a variety of animals such as crabs, frogs, bears, worms or kangaroos! All of these use the child’s body weight as resistance.
• Set up a mini “core strength circuit” and have your child complete Superman or Airplanes where your child stretches out while laying on their tummy. Try to lift arms and legs off the floor with hands facing forward and palms down.
• Encourage your child to try new equipment at the playground (e.g. swings, climbing, monkey bars, slides and poles). These are all activities that assist in increasing core strength.
• Encourage your child to sit with correct posture during seated activities
• Have your child lay prone (on their tummy) while watching tv or playing with toys
To learn more about Occupational Therapy Services, please don’t hesitate to contact Mobile Therapy Centers to speak with one of our therapists. We provide FREE screenings/consultations, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to have your child seen by a professional and then answer any questions you may have?
Mobile Therapy Centers is a Multidisciplinary Clinic specializing in ABA Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Feeding Therapy, Pediatric Physical Therapy and Counseling. We see children at our clinics, at your home or at your child’s school/daycare making it convenient for you and your family.
MTC provides free screenings/consultations. We also provide Telehealth services. MTC accepts most commercial insurance. Contact us below to learn more.