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Ready Set Prep-Child Development & Gross Motor Skills

The transition into the first year of school or prep is a huge milestone for many kids. It can often be daunting for both parent and child, presenting a new set of challenges and unfamiliar experiences. However, it need not be so worrying, there are many ways that you can assist with the transition with the Christmas holiday period providing the perfect time to help your little preppy get ready for his first year as a big school kid.

A child’s development although it is traditionally seen as genetic is also largely influenced by environmental factors like nutrition, living conditions and a child’s experiences. A child’s development is best looked at holistically but can be broken down into integrated and co-existing categories such as Physical, Sensory, Social-Emotional, Cognitive and Speech and Language. A child who struggles with concentration compared to a child who is clumsy and struggles physically may in fact benefit from the same intervention or activity. One would not naturally consider core stability and strength when their child is struggling to concentrate in class, so you would be surprised to know that a weak core can actually trigger poor concentration and disruptive behaviour.

The development of gross motor skills works in very closely with a child’s sensory development, in turn impacting on cognitive development, which can lead to self-confidence issues and underdeveloped social skills. A delay in movement can compromise strength and posture which can affect alignment and efficient muscle recruitment and development. Posture and core strength are the foundation of all movement, including fine motor skills. A poor posture can be caused by a weak core which will see a child struggle to sit still for longer periods of time, which can result in fidgeting, and general disruptive behaviour as concentration dwindles. The good news is core stability and general gross motor skills can be practised and improved with consistency. And it doesn’t have to be boring! So, here are a few things to try these school holidays to build up your child’s core in the lead up to their giant leap into the classroom. Hot tip- kids will imitate you, so get involved. If you find there is a weakness, they may shy away from the activity, so try to make it fun and creative without focusing on the sore point.

1. Caterpillar Walking

Start standing, roll down to touch your toes, walk your hands away from your feet into a plank position and walk your feet up to your hands.

2. Leap frog Who wants to play leap frog, you can have a race down the back yard, count to 10 and see how high you can each jump or physically jump over each other.

3. Balancing on your bottom Indoors and starting to worry about screen time? Every 15mins balance on your bottom, nothing else is allowed to touch the floor, hold for a whole minute. For an extra challenge, straighten your arms and legs out.

4. Bear walking This is great for core strength, leg strength and shoulder stability. Get down on your hands and feet and walk a lap of the back yard, run back and repeat 3 times.

5. Oopsy Opposites Get down on all fours and extend one leg out and then extend the opposite arm out in front, this is great for core stability but also great for cognitive development.

6. Obstacle courses in the backyard Set up something fun in the backyard, incorporate crawling, jumping, hopping, planks and all of the above.

7. Bushwalking Getting outdoors and in the bush is as good as an obstacle. You really have to concentrate and incidentally you turn your core on much more efficiently.

8. Wheelbarrow races Yep you heard it, hands down and butt up, amazing for core and upper body development.

9. Swimming It’s summer and it’s fun, so this is a no brainer. Swimming is actually great for development as it includes using opposites sides of the brain, core control and bilateral movement. It’s great for gross motor skills, cognitive development and sensory input.

If you want a bit more structure and feel like this is too overwhelming, we have 18 fun videos all set and ready for your child to enjoy. Ranging from 5 mins to 25 mins in a progressive and fun setting, the videos are all available from the convenience of your home. If you want to help your little preppy get set for school over the hols, sign up to our program today and receive a 20% school holiday discount by using #khpblog20


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