Each week I take Evie to kinder gym. I know it’s important for her to have the chance to crawl, run, walk, slide, roll, fall and climb. Not to mention she loves it!
Today I’m partaking in a little lazy blogging and sharing with you an article from our kinder gyms newsletter (edited slightly).
It is written by a Chiropractor who has over 10 years of experience working with children, has participated in countless paediatric seminars and courses and is hugely fascinated by and passionate about child development and encouraging children to express their full potential. He may also be my man and the father of my child. But don’t hold that against him, yeah?
He’s alright. And it’s a good article. The bonus being that you can ask the author any questions you like on here Enjoy!
“It’s a poorly recognised fact – your child’s early physical development is strongly linked to their learning ability, their social interactions, and their current and future health.
We are all born with a set of reflexes (called primitive reflexes) which increase our chances of ‘making it’ in those first few intense months of life. During this time our bodies are set on ‘immediate survival’ mode that turns on preprogrammed responses like the startle, suckling, and grasping reflexes. As we grow, these primitive reflexes need to be integrated to allow our bodies to develop healthily.
From the moment we are born, and over the next 12 months, all our neurological and physical developments are aimed at just one main event- getting us walking on two feet. It has been theorised that our bipedal posture is one of the main reasons we have the brain capacity that we do as our arms and hands are free to manipulate the world.
Whether a child walks earlier or later than 12 months matters little as long as they have gone through the correct phases. And this is where it gets a little tricky because what is best for our children is not necessarily what they (or we for that matter!) will like.
The number one thing that a child needs in order to develop correctly is tummy time. Lots of tummy time. Tummy time stimulates a part of the brain that develops the arching of the spine and body, building strong postural muscles to support an upright frame.
The next phase is crawling. And I mean proper, on all fours crawling. If your child misses this phase or moves around by ‘commando crawling’, ‘bum shuffling’ or another method then they are missing a crucial component of their neurological and physical development. Proper crawling develops links between both sides of the brain leading to sharper left/right body co-ordination. Very importantly, it also develops the ability of the eyes to track smoothly (ie move smoothly from left to right), a skill vital for reading.
The third component is standing. Often this stage is prematurely developed with toys like jolly-jumpers and walkers. Even though baby loves these apparatus they are BAD for your baby’s development. In particular, Jolly jumpers short cut the natural process required to build the correct brain pathways. Being able to stand does not mean your baby is ready to walk. Even if baby is holding on to things and scooting around the furniture, they are probably still working out the new sensation of being upright. Don’t ‘force’ baby to walk. Let baby work it out for themselves, they will be better for it!
By giving your child the opportunity to participate in activities like kinder gym, you are providing your child with something that is vital to their health and development. Brain researcher and Nobel Prize Laureate, Richard Restak, said, “movement to the brain is as wind is to the windmill,” so good on you for getting your baby’s brain firing!”