Whether your child has a physical condition, mental impairment or just needs some assistance to gain some focus, you have options. Choose from a variety of therapeutic techniques to help your child raise his body awareness. Along the way, he may even learn some helpful calming and relaxation methods, too.
Yoga incorporates purposeful movements, relaxation and breathing exercises. Kid's yoga often incorporates poses with animal names to make it more entertaining and engaging for the little ones. Your child can attend group yoga or individual yoga. Individual sessions are sometimes offered for children with special needs or in need of special one-on-one attention. As your child moves through the yoga poses, he will increase his body awareness, position in space, strength and flexibility. These movements can even calm hyperactive kids and increase concentration.
Even young children can learn meditation techniques. Purchase a guided meditation CD or read a meditation book for kids aloud to him, pausing when needed. As he travels through the meditation, especially at the beginning, there are instructions to bring attention to certain parts of the body. For example, kids are instructed to become aware of a particular area, relax it and imagine light flowing to that area. After a meditation session, your child should be calm, centered and happy.
Massage is beneficial for children and adults. Infant massage helps the little one make important neural connections, allows him to relax his busy developing muscles and can start to make the child more aware of his new body. As a child gets older, the massage can bring his attention to each muscle as it is touched. These actions draw that busy mind of his into a focus on his body. If he has a physical condition, massage can often help alleviate pain, reduce stiffness and hopefully regain some range of motion.
There are several occupational therapy techniques that can be implemented to help your child with his body awareness. A trained occupational therapist will assess your child’s needs and determine the appropriate course of action. For example, the therapist may recommend sensory integration therapy to help your child achieve a sense of his body through some specialized movements. Occupational therapists may also implement special equipment specifically designed for kid's therapy, such as swings, trampolines, ball pits and textured equipment. Aquatic therapy is another method of occupational therapy. An occupational therapist works with the child while he is in water and special exercises are performed.
- Indiana University Health Neuroscience Center: Occupational Therapy
- Body Awareness Therapy and the Body Awareness Scale, Treatment and Evaluation in Psychiatric Physiotherapy; Gertrud Roxendal
- Family Education: Movement and Body Awareness
- The Complete Yoga Book; James Hewitt
- Special Yoga: Yoga for the Special Child
- Zenzational Kids Yoga and Therapy: Therapeutic Yoga for Children with Special Needs
- Indiana University Hospital: Occupational Therapy
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