Childhood Physical Therapy: Ways to Help Strengthen & Develop Motor Skills

Childhood Physical

How Childhood Physical Therapy Can Help Strengthen & Develop Motor Skills and Health

Childhood physical therapy helps to develop motor skills and promote overall health in young children. From infants to adolescents, physical therapy can be beneficial for improving strength, coordination, and flexibility. From improving a child’s balance to helping with complex motor skills, physical activity and exercise can assist a child in many important ways.

Physical therapy can assist children in many areas. Motor skills development and strengthening is an essential part of early physical therapy, as it helps with mobility, coordination, and posture. Issues such as torticollis, wherein the neck may be positioned tight, can be treated with physical therapy, as can low or high muscle tone, low coordination, or difficulties with fine or gross motor development. Further, physical therapy can help with the coordination involved in activities, such as jumping, catching, or kicking a ball.

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Physical Therapy Benefits

In addition to strengthening and developing motor skills, physical therapy can help with issues such as:

  • Paralysis or difficulty using arms or legs
  • Joint problems, such as hip dysplasia
  • Coordination with daily activities, such as playing on a jungle gym or riding a bike
  • Sensory processing of touch, sound, and so forth
  • Respiratory and cardiovascular fitness
  • The ability to perform sports or other group activities

Strengthening Exercises

Physical therapists create plans to address an individual’s physical development needs. Aligning with the goal of improved physical functioning, physical therapy exercises help with the growth of muscles, joints, and the overall body’s development.

These exercises can include:

  • Stretching and strengthening muscles and joints
  • Developing balance and coordination through motion exercises
  • Integrating motor skills, such as crouching and jumping, running and hopping
  • Dynamic, aerobic exercises to build cardiovascular fitness

Full Participation

Children should be encouraged to be as active as possible within their physical limitations. Physical therapy is designed to help with proper posture, gait, coordination, and strengthening. When it comes to physical activity, the goal should be full participation.

Fun activities such as swimming, playing catch, and running can help children develop physical and social skills, while increasing their self-esteem. Teaching a child how to play a team sport or learn to dance can help children develop a healthy pattern of physical activity that can continue throughout their lives.

Through physical therapy and activities, a child will strengthen both body and mind as they develop motor skills for a healthier life.

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