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Month: November 2019

baby crawling

Do Babies Really Need to Crawl?

That glorious moment when your baby is mobile, crawling around your house at hyper-speed is both joyous and terrifying. Time to baby-proof your house! Do babies really need to crawl? Crawling is essential for your baby’s development. The coordination and strength that are attained while your baby is exploring the world through crawling is irreplaceable, and sets them on the path to success!

This side/that side: Crawling requires the perfect unison of arms moving in alternation. This skill is important for future coordination of hand movements for play with toys, walking/running, climbing and pulling, home skills like taking off the toothpaste cap or opening containers, and academic skills like cutting!

Getting ahold of it: Putting weight through our hands forms the arches in the palms of our hands. These arches allow for our hands to grasp items of various sizes and shapes, and allow for our fingers to move in coordination with the objects we hold. We need these arches to play with baby blocks and balls, grab a paper cup without smashing it, and use our thumb to pinch thin objects within our fingers. 

Show me your muscles: Bodyweight through our arms develops the muscles in our shoulders and arms. The shifting of a crawling movement helps strengthen these muscles and allow for stability at our shoulder, which we need for later fine motor manipulation tasks like completing buttons, writing/coloring and lifting heavy items.

Tummy time upgrade: The crawl position tilts our body horizontal with the ground, requiring that our head work against gravity to look around. This strength and control in our neck is used for balance and stability for the rest of our life!

Look at it this way: As baby crawls around, they can look at the floor, up at you, and back at the floor. This is an extremely important motor pattern for the development of eye movements. Looking at something near the eyes, then turning focus to something farther away requires our eyes to work together to focus and adjust eye position quickly. Your baby will use this important skill later for play activities like catching and throwing, learning tasks in the classroom, and even driving!

So, do babies need to crawl? If your baby has skipped the crawling phase, they may be missing out on the development of some of these fundamental skills. BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy offers free screenings to give you the tools to help your baby “crawl” their way to a strong and play-filled life!

Written by: Maggie Lord, MS, OTR/L

preschool circle time seating

Sit Smart, Not Still – Best Seating for Classrooms

Is it necessary for children to sit still to attend in circle time? Let’s talk about creative seating in the classroom. As adults, we make sure to “get comfortable” before focusing on things we want or have to do, whether it’s paying bills at the table or watching T.V. on the couch. We do it automatically – we shift our weight or add a pillow under our legs without even thinking about it! When your seating arrangement is comfortable, you are able to give your full attention to the task at hand without having to think twice about how your body is positioned. Like adults, kids need to be comfortable and “situated” in order to focus, especially in school. Sometimes, finding comfortable and focus-inducing seating for the classroom requires creativity and flexibility!

“Sitting Smart”- Benefits of flexible seating options: 

  • Movement Opportunities: Moving your body helps increase blood flow to the brain, which improves focus and attention & reduces stress. Movement options while sitting in the classroom can involve small, minor movements/wiggles or large bounces/shifts to facilitate organized engagement in those wiggles and promoting increased focus.
  • Something for Everyone: Providing a variety of seating options encourages kids to explore and figure out what helps them learn best – we are all different! Allow a child to select what helps them most provides a sense of ownership and self-awareness that will allow for increased engagement in their task, their way!
  • Motivation: Having fun seating options is a way to motivate kids to want to come to school and learn. Increasing the intrigue with novel seating arrangements improves a child’s willingness to approach a seated task that might otherwise be “boring” or “too hard”.

Here are some seating options to help kids improve focus and participation while seated in the classroom:

Cube Chair 

Low Table with Pillows

Floor Chair with Back Support -Postural stability is key!

Fidget Band for Chair -Gives kids an opportunity to move their legs and improve focus

Wiggle Seat – Movement and input while sitting are super motivating!

Exercise Balance BallProvides range of motion opportunities

Wedge Seat positions pelvis for upright posture

Beanbag Chair – Available at Walmart

Scoop Rocker Chair

Inflatable Chair  

Wobble Stool

If these seating options aren’t providing everything your kids need to be successful, BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy offers free screenings to give your child the necessary tools to improve participation and function at home and in school.

By Jade Pellerito, OTR

Occupational Therapist