The Importance of Core Control
When you look at a tree, you
typically notice the branches and
leaves, the qualities that make it
big and pretty but the trunk,
although overshadowed most of
the time, is the most important
part of the tree. It gives it strength and allows the beauty to show because it give it stability to grow and flourish.
It is the same with development in children!
Core strength or postural control is the foundation and the anchor of everything we do and building it begins during infancy. If a child does not have a strong core, it can effect head position, shoulder position, elbow position, wrist position, and finger position.
Everything within the body works proximal to distal, proximal meaning the nearest point of attachment to a limb or structure. Distal meaning furthest from attachment origin. In other words, from your core out.
When a child has poor core strength it will reflect in everyday tasks such as fine motor
skills such as handwriting and gross motor skills such as participating in school sports.
So now you may wonder “does my child have weakened core strength?”
So now you may wonder
“does my child have weakened core strength?”
Signs of poor core strength and postural control
Does not like to participate in rough or tumble play.
Slouches when writing, and may use the chair to support all
aspects of their body
Holds their head up with their non- writing hand
Move around in their seat a lot
Difficulty on playground equipment such as slides, poles, see saws,
and swings – needs to exert more effort than peers
how do you improve core strength?
Building core strength begins during infancy, tummy time! Every time your baby pushes up onto their hands or pulls
their knees up under them in tummy time, they are strengthening their shoulders, hips, abdominal and back
After infancy typical physical and outside play is wonderful for core strength.
Some fun strengthening activities are:
Wheelbarrow walking- where the child walks on their hands and the adult hold their feet off the ground.
Planks! – Just like working your abs at the gym, have your child do elbow planks or hand planks and time how long they can hold it!
Swinging, monkey bars, any new playground equipment will encourage balance and upper body strength.
One key factor in encouraging core engagement is making sure your child sits and
moves with correct body posture. Sitting slouched or propping up when sitting is a lazy
way to sit, after this becomes a habit the muscles do not become engaged while seated
having long-term effects on core strength as a whole. Smaller children will naturally
learn to compensate for poor postural control by altering the way the sit during play or
while completing a tedious task, making this something a parent needs to watch for and
correct. If you see your child sitting “lazy”, try to encourage them to sit “strong” and
show them what you expect, shoulders back, strong core, no slouching. Before long “sit
strong” will become a common phrase and create a new habit of correct postural sitting