By Lydia Bradford
Doctor of Chiropractic
A 6 year old child walked into our Clinic or, I should say, fell in. Mum comforted her and was so used to her being clumsy that she didn't think anything of it. Her mum had been clumsy herself for her whole life. She thought it was just something that you had to deal with.
We all know of at least one clumsy child, you may have been one yourself.
There are many reasons for children to be clumsy and often it can be improved so that you don't have to carry it into adult life.
My question is Do we want our children to be limited or is there something we can do?'
Playing games can help
You can have so much fun coming up with games which help to build links between the body and the brain.
When you balance, your brain uses information from your muscles and joints along with your special senses from your eyes and ears.
All of this information has to be combined in order for your brain to make a three dimensional map of the world. Your body has to be able to use this information. Reacting and adapting to what's around you within seconds to avoid accidents such as slipping, bumping or falling.
Any exercise that improves your balance also strengthens connections between your body and your brain. So games such as standing on one leg, hopping, standing on squashy foam mats, and walking along narrow lines such as joints in paving connects your body to your brain.
You can improve your general coordination by lying on your back and using opposite arms and legs as if you are marching.
How to motivate your children to improve their sense of balance and coordination
Work together. Playing games brings the family together. Whether it's raining or sunny; you don't need a lot of space or equipment.
You are never too old to maximise your balance and coordination. Time how long you can stand on one leg then see who in the family can improve their skills. It's a great way of letting children see that we can all improve with practice.
Keep it fun
Ask family and friends about the games that they played when they were young. There are so many children's pastimes that have been forgotten. It's wonderful to see that merry-go-rounds are coming back to our parks. They give the balance organs in your ears a real workout.
Track your progress
It's easy to forget how much you have improved. You may have only been able to balance on one leg for a few seconds when you started, and now you can literally do it with your eyes shut!
It gives you the confidence to join in more.
Celebrate your new skills by looking for a sport or activity that you have wanted to take part in and make this your goal.
What happened to the little girl? She had some gentle Chiropractic treatment to make sure all her joints were moving freely. She played her balancing games. She became so confident that even slippery surfaces at the swimming pool couldn't slow her down. Her friends and family were amazed at the difference in her confidence levels - all they have to do now is teach her not to run near the pool.
Lydia Bradford is a Chiropractor at Afon House Chiropractic Clinic in Salisbury.
She has many years' experience working with children and families. She helps children to connect to their bodies within their ever changing environment.
If you would like a free chat with Lydia please call Afon House Chiropractic Clinic on 01722 820 400 or visit www.afonhouse.co.uk for more details.