Movement of the Month: Why is Bending an Important Lifelong Skill?

Movement of the Month: Why is Bending an Important Lifelong Skill?

Bending involves flexion of the hips, knees, and ankles and often occurs in children before they learn to twist and turn. The best way to help encourage bending is to provide your child with ample opportunities to explore, practice, and refine the skill! Bending serves as a foundation for daily activities such as getting dressed, tying shoes, cleaning up toys, getting down and up off the ground, as well as several sports and activities. 

Did you Know?
Bending is an important skill for adults too! Often times, bending in patterns that are inefficient end up leading to more trips to the chiropractor or physical therapist. 
 

How do children learn how to bend?

Remember, every child develops at their own unique pace! Here are some common progressions you may see:

-bringing their knees to their chest and exploring their feet with their hands while laying on their back
-crawling 
-curling into a small ball on the ground during play
-seated or standing and touching their knees and toes
-deep squatting during play
-bending to pick objects up off the ground
-forward roll or somersault 

What are the best ways to encourage my child to bend more?

Children learn how to bend through continued practice, exploration, and encouragement. Whether they are interested in dinosaurs, space, nature, or a simple game of Simon Says, here are some of our favorite games to play at home! 

1. Dinosaur Eggs!

Encourage your little one(s) to pretend they are a baby dinosaur by getting into their small egg on the ground. Slowly, one body part at a time, encourage them to crack through the shell out of the egg. Once the dinosaur baby has hatched, let them move around the room pretending to be a dinosaur! Don't forget to take turns being the dinosaur egg. 

2. Blast Off!

Pretend you are astronauts preparing for a launch to the moon. Get into the rocket ship by bending into a little ball and count down together from 10 to 1. Blast off by standing up and running around the room. Once you visit the moon, bend back into little balls inside of the rocket for more space travel!

3. Magic Garden!

Pretend you are plant seeds. Take turns watering, or being the sun shining down, as you grow into a tall plant! Repeat pretending to be different plants until the entire garden has grown. This is also a great way to teach children about fruits, vegetables, and nature!

4. Pillow Simon Says

Place a pillow on the ground and encourage your child to follow various Simon Says cues. For example, “Simon says put your head on the pillow, put your hands on the pillow, sit on the pillow, or jump around the pillow.”

Watch Video of Pillow Simon Says

 

 

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Note: This information is meant for educational purposes only. Always reach out to your pediatrician, physical or occupational therapist with specific questions and concerns about your child’s development.

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