Does your child have difficulty sitting still in class? Slouch when they sit? Have poor handwriting? Handwriting is a complex task that requires 15 skills. One underlying cause that affects handwriting skills is the lack of core strength. Children with a weak core are unable to function successfully in and outside of the classroom.
What is core strength?
The ‘Core’ is made up of the most active muscles in your child’s body. It includes the abdominal muscles, back muscles and gluteus muscles, all of which, your child needs for postural control to balance and sit upright when seated for long periods of time.
These muscles help your child to sit in a stable position and control the movements for handwriting tasks.
The effects of poor core strength on your child
Children who exhibit poor core strength oftentimes compensate and result in the following behaviors: moving around a lot and the inability to sit upright in order to concentrate and learn. Other signs that a child has poor core strength includes sloppy handwriting, short attention span and poor posture (i.e. sitting on knees, hunched over too far, head resting on hand or desk, using the arms to support the head and upper body).
This occurs because their muscles are not strong enough to hold them upright in the same position for long before they start to become antsy and transition into a more comfortable position.
This leads to distractibility and the inability to complete the task at hand that shows their best effort. Often times, they are quick to give up because tasks seem too hard and require more time and effort than their peers to complete.
In addition, when the core is weak it also leads to weak fine motor skills. With the engagement of the core muscles the arms are also involved which allow for fine motor control of the hands, in order to hold a writing utensil and in-hand manipulation. Having weak core muscles does not allow for your child to write effectively.
How to strengthen your child’s core
The best way to help your child’s posture is to encourage active play. Both parent and child can actively participate in activities that engage your child’s core and back muscles. Almost any and all movements can do just that! It is important that the frequency of such activities occurs often to strengthen the core and to immensely improve handwriting. Examples of fun activities that help strengthen the core while promoting carryover into the classroom and for handwriting: jumping, swimming, hiking, swinging, running, sports, dancing and biking.
If you’re looking for a cheap product that will easily help to strengthen your child’s hands, check this out: Simple Fine Motor Strengthening Activity