1-minute trick to improve body awareness
Is your child clumsy? Do they fall down a lot? Do they have a hard time standing in line at school? Or participating in PE class or sports? Are they always bumping into people or things?
They are NOT alone! Many young children need to work on developing better body awareness.
One of the research-based ways to work on body awareness is to use a cognitive approach in which the child (or an adult) verbalizes the steps of a task while doing it. This increases the brain's awareness of where the body is in space. We are "training" the brain to notice the body's position.
We use this technique often during Outdoor Kids OT groups when we do Fox Walking. During Fox Walking, the children are told to "sneak like a fox". We tell them a fox walks by placing their feet carefully on the ground with awareness of where they are stepping. We teach the children how to lift their knees high, place their heel, then roll to their toe to walk quietly-- sneaking like a fox! Here's a quick video of some kids trying it out in the meadow.
Fox Walking is a playful way to work on body awareness while you are out in the woods, or in your own backyard. To motivate your child to walk carefully, you can find a bird, squirrel, or other animal nearby, and encourage your child to use Fox Walking to sneak up as close as possible to the animal. In daily life, if your child seems unaware of their body in space, you can remind them to try Fox Walking to bring their mind's attention to their body.