This post was written by Melissa Chiu PT, DPT, a pediatric physical therapist at Jefferson
With the winter weather hitting us in full force, it is easy to feel restless — especially with little ones at home. Here are some fun family ideas to help keep your kids happy and active to fight that cabin fever!
For your infants:
Now that there are so many different types of infant seats and rockers, our babies are spending more and more time sitting in different seats throughout the day. Additionally, with the push for “Back to Sleep” and safe sleeping, our kids spend more time on their backs than ever before. This has potential to lead to other issues like Plagiocephaly (flattening of the head from prolonged positioning) or Torticollis (shortening of the muscles in the neck causing a slight tilt or rotation of the head) which would call for an evaluation with Physical Therapy to help address that issue as early as possible. Additionally, the need for tummy time and supported sitting play is much more important. But how do you keep it fun and engaging? Try introducing some bubbles, looking in a mirror, or even tummy time on your chest so that you can be face to face with your baby.
For your babies:
For the kids who are more mobile, simple obstacle courses can keep them moving and entertained for longer than sitting and playing with a single toy. You can set up a “maze” for them to navigate – climbing over pillows and cushions and around ottomans or even crawling over your legs. These obstacle courses can help to encourage progression towards each gross motor milestone like crawling, cruising, and walking.
For your school-age kids:
For the older kids, there are a lot of fun dancing and exercise videos online — why not even exercise with them! Kids learn so much just from what they observe of you. There are plenty of yoga videos that you could do together that are either more kid-targeted or adult ones that they can follow along with you. These types of activities encourage more coordination, balance, and endurance which are vital in your kid’s engagement with peers and in their daily play lives.
If you are noticing any delays in your kids gross motor development or concerns for head shape or neck tilt, take the time to set up a Physical Therapy appointment. Pediatric Physical Therapy provides an opportunity for kids to demonstrate their skills, to learn the tools they need to grow and progress on track with their peers, and play with overall increased confidence. The hope with Pediatric Physical Therapy is to teach families how to incorporate play and therapy together to best address underlying deficits and provide the best support and care possible.