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Movement and Play Two Essential Elements To Healthy Babies

Lil tykes and Monique graduation 1-11-11 178

Movement and play are essential  for all babies to grow up healthy and achieve optimal development. I was reading several comments to an article written by an occupational therapist, a mother or three and has a PhD in Educational Psychology. This article was on crawling and the therapist and PhD gave her expert opinion on the fact that she felt it was instrumental in a child’s development. She also acknowledged that there are some babies that never crawled and were fine.

I couldn’t believe all of the argumentative and upset comments she got in response. Many people seem to get so defensive and wanted to slice the woman in two it seemed. To be fair not all of the comments were like this, there were many people who thanked her for the information and also agreed with her. What she was sharing was from her experience and training and she wanted parents to be safe rather than take any chances with their children’s growth and development.

To my surprise I read a comment from a mother whose son didn’t start crawling until he was a year old. He didn’t move  in any way or even  roll over until Read more »

Why Bouncing Babies Is Good For Them

When I teach my infants we have this song called “Bouncing Baby”. This is one of their favorite songs. I use it for children from around six to seven months up to two years old. I think one of the reasons that they love it so much is babies love to bounce. Bouncing, clapping and tapping are all very important to babies’ growth and development. These three things help babies with rhythm and timing.

Helping children with rhythm and timing is important. It helps them with Read more »

Children’s Self Esteem Is Built By What They Can Do

Adults feel great about themselves by what they know. Children feel great about themselves by what they are able to do, and boy do they love to do. In my dance class today we worked with balls with my mobile infants. I think they are around 9 -12 months. Out of a class of about 6 only two of them are walking so our activities are confined to the floor. Mobile also includes crawling and scooting around. No worries though there are plenty activities that we can do on the floor.

Last week we had a combined class of mobile and non mobile infants. I was ecstatic because that meant the class was twice as long and we could do more things. So that’s when I thought about the balls. Children of all ages love balls. Balls and bubbles are two things that children love. I was trying to think of an activity to do with them involving a ball when I spotted a short little tunnel. I said to myself this would be a great time to teach them about “inside”.

So I grab the short tunnel and put it in the middle of the room. I took a ball and said “I’m putting the ball inside.” Then I  gave the ball to a student and asked them to put the ball inside. This little cutie pie didn’t miss a beat she put the ball inside the tunnel. YYYYYYYYEEEEEEAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! I scream excitedly. Thank goodness we had  three balls, so the children could have a turn quickly and not have to wait.

Some children get really frustrated when Read more »

Why Babies Need To Crawl

I am so amazed at how quickly children change and develop. I only get to see my students once a week and believe it or not a lot can change in a week. Last week one of my eight month old students could not hold her body up to sit up by herself. She needed props and pillows all around her to support her. I was ecstatic to see her sitting up by herself when I came to her  class to teach her music and movement. I greeted her with an enthusiastic “Hello followed by her name. She game me that million dollar smile I love so much.

Although she was not yet mobile she moved her body to the music very gingerly. All of her weight was moving forward, so she was making a 45 degree angle with the floor. I explained to her director that although she was sitting unassisted we still need to build her core strength and upper body strength so that she would be able to sit up straight making a 90 degree angle with the floor instead of a 45 degree angle.

I also explained to the director that if she didn’t lean forward she would fall over backwards if she tried to straighten up. Isn’t that amazing that her body figures out a way to keep up upright. I explained to the director that this is why we do the exercise of having the students crawl through a tunnel like object. Crawling and scooting( where they are not on their hands and knees) help children to build upper body and core strength. This is necessary for them to go from crawling to eventually walking. All children take the same path of development but at different times according to their own individual development.

One other very important purpose of crawling and scooting is to integrate both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This is very important because not only does it integrates the brain which helps it process information quicker. It also builds brain architecture and support neurological organization of their nervous system. Crawling and scooting are very essential aspects of child growth and development.

Giving babies ample floor time gives them an opportunity to develop both the muscles of their bodies and also ensures neurological health. Babies have to move. Through movement they are using their muscles to create pathways and connections and wire their brain. They also need to move to develop their muscles for future skills they will need like walking and feeding themselves. Cognitively they learn about themselves, their surroundings and environment.

So give babies ample time and space to crawl, scoot or just be on their tummies. In Early Childhood we call this tummy time. So make tummy time a fun time that can also be used for learning. I would love to hear about some of the activities you use with your baby during their tummy time. Please remember to share this with your friends, family and anyone who would find it useful and leave a comment below.

Baby Dance: Happiness In The Little Things

Today while teaching my infant class I got the greatest thrill. These little precious ones are  probably around 10 to 12 months or younger. None of them are walking yet and have support while they are dancing. They sit either in a bumpy or high chair. Other times they sit in our laps or support themselves on the floor. They can wiggle their bodies and move their arms and legs, bop their heads and my favorite laugh and giggle.

In this class we learn simple things like clapping, creating different rhythms and learning different body parts  and just the freedom of  moving their body. It’s also a time to learn about what their bodies can do and how the different parts of the body function differently from each other. Like how your hands can hold and shake a rattle but not your toes. Read more »