Check out this full recap from our social media mini-series: 5 Movements That Matter
Day 1: Proprioceptive Movements
Proprioception gives input to the joints in our body, giving our sensory system the ability to understand where our body is in space. The proprioceptive system lets us know how we are moving; how much pressure or force is needed for a task; and helps us find our way in the dark.
When our proprioceptive system is functioning properly we don’t have to think about it. Our body is able to make minor adjustments when navigating our environment without conscious thought.
If your child’s proprioceptive system is off you may notice they have poor balance; bump into people & objects frequently; trip & fall frequently, and not being able to copy movements. Take a quick balance test to see if your child can hold still while one foot is in front of the other and arms out to the side. If they sway or fall over they could use more proprioceptive work. If they are successful balancing for > 30 seconds, try with their eyes closed.
Proprioceptive movements are all about bringing sensation to the joints. Heavy work, pushing, pulling, and weight bearing activities all fit the bill. #movementsthatmatter for proprioception include:
* bear crawl
* plank, push-up
* creeping/spiderman (chest & hips on floor)
* balance work
* log rolls
Day 2: Vestibular Movements
Movements that stimulate the vestibular system are extremely important to the development of your child’s brain. All learning during the first 15 months of life is centered on developing the vestibular system. The growth of the cerebellum is related to all movement and closely tied to the vestibular system. This is a critical area for paying attention, focus, and processing sensory information.
The vestibular system is activated any time the head & eyes move. The vestibular system affects behavior, social interactions, speech, and communication. This sensory system processes our movements & incoming sensory information to form our view of the world.
Pretty amazing, huh?!
If your child has an underdeveloped vestibular system they may:
* rock or spin themselves
* have poor coordination and balance
* difficulty riding a bike, walking on a balance beam
* can’t sit still, need to move & fidget (self-stimulating the vestibular system)
* often appear “spaced out” “in their own world”
* motion sickness
As we continue through all 5 days, you’ll notice there are many movements that overlap. Vesitbualr movements are all about moving the head & eyes through space; which truly incorporates a lot of movements!! #movementsthatmatter for vestibular system stimulation include:
* log rolls
* bear walk
* biking, skateboarding, skates
Day 3: Primitive Reflexes
Movements that help integrate primitive reflexes are important for children. More and more children are being seen to have reflexes remain unintegrated in later childhood causing effects on learning, motor skills, emotional skills, and behavior. Primitive reflexes lay the foundation for the neurological network that is our foundation to learning.
Unintegrated reflexes are thought to occur due to less activity by children, less tummy time, more toxin exposure, and exposure to screen time at younger ages. All of which effect the development of the brain. These neurodevelopmental movements are easy and effective. They must be done on a regular basis for the best effect.
Primitive reflexes help create patterns in the brain that enable postural reflexes to work, which help us stand and walk. Then our higher level learning skills comes into play – ready, writing, math, attention, focus, etc.
There are many resources available on exercises to help integrate primitive reflexes. We offer a quick start guide on our website that gives you an exact system to follow plus video guide with exercises. You can also search ‘primitive reflex exercises’ on youtube to find them.
Unintegrated reflexes can manifest in several “symptoms” including:
* hyper or hypo-sensitive to sound, touch, taste, movement
* picky eater
* motion sickness
* emotional instability
* frequent tantrums
* math, reading, writing difficulty
* poor fine motor skills
* language, speech difficulty
* visual problems
As you can see many developmental issues can be caused by unintegrated reflexes, which is why these movements made our list!! #movementsthatmatter for primitive reflex integration include:
* Hand & foot reflexes (palmar & babinski)
* Asymmetrical tonic neck reflex (ATNR)
* Moro reflex
* Landau reflex
* Spinal galant reflex
* Symmetrical tonic neck reflex (STNR)
* Tonic Labyrinthine reflex (TLR)
* Rooting reflex
Day 4: Balance & Coordination
In order to understand why balance & coordination are important movement categories, we must talk about the vestibular system. The vestibular sense, also considered the sense of balance, is the first to develop as a child grows in the womb. Stimulating the vestibular sense has effects on all processes of the brain.
The vestibular sense is activated by movement of the head or stimulation of the fluids in the ear canals, even minor movements that occur with balancing. This sensation gives the brain the sense of where it is in space and forms our spatial & body awareness.
The vestibular sense also has a strong correlation with brain timing – which is where coordination comes into play. Working coordination while balancing promotes the space-time framework in the brain, making all brain processes more efficient.
If your child has difficulties with their balance, or vestibular sense, you may see sensory challenges. All of the other sensory systems (motor, tactile, visual, auditory) develop in relation to the vestibular system.
Balance is a tremendous tool for stimulation. Balance involves the vestibular processes, motor system, vision, tactile, and to some degree the auditory sensory system.
#movementsthatmatter for balance & coordination include:
* balance beam work
* balance board while catching/throwing
* balance board while tossing bean bag between hands
* single leg balance (eyes open, eyes closed)
* head turning
Day 5: Cross-body Movements
Cross-body movements help to stimulate and build neural networks in the corpus callosum. The Corpus callosum is the superhighway between the left and right brain hemispheres, enabling communication between the two.
Crawling is the first activity that develops neurons in the corpus callosum – when we crawl we are using right arm/left leg, then left arm/right leg to move forward. Cross-body movements are not simply about crossing midline. But we have to connect right side of the body to the left to get the most benefit.
If your child has not chosen a dominant hand by the time they are 4 years old, they could use work with cross-body movements. Also, if your child has trouble crossing the midline with vision, or motor movements, they would benefit.
#movementsthatmatter that stimulate both sides of the brain include:
* bird dog
* cross crawl (can be done passively, seated, standing)