Your baby’s first steps are always a milestone to remember and even have it on tape if you’re lucky. Your baby goes through many stages before actually taking those first steps and as a parent I know you want to make sure your child reaches his/her full potential in everything they do from the time they are born and it never ends. Whilst they are in their early walking development stages – which is sitting and crawling – there are different techniques you can try to help the process. Improving your baby’s balance not only helps you prepare your baby for walking but, it also goes a long way into adulthood.
The Vestibular System.
Ever heard of the Vestibular System? The Vestibular system is the part of the inner ear that plays an important role in balance and coordination. It consists of three semicircular canals; Posterior, Lateral and Anterior, and two otolith organs; Utricle and Saccule.
The entire system is responsible for
- Head direction
- Spatial Orientation
- Acceleration or slowing down
The Vestibular system and balancing go hand-in-hand because it sends information to your brain which processes it and sends the information to the correct organs that need to be activated in any given situation. Essentially, without the vestibular system you will be bumping into everything and have no sense of balance.
The benefits of improving your baby’s balance.
Do you ever wonder why your friend has better balance than you? I have many times, I am one of those kids that is good at balancing but only to a certain degree whilst my friend is busy being a ninja. Gotta love those ninja courses at trampoline parks. I have also seen babies fall more than others and not just because they are playing but also randomly just standing and next thing you know he/she is on the floor.
Working on balance development with your baby sets him/her up for life and not just the time-being. It stimulates your baby from now and carries into adulthood.
- Your baby will have excellent balancing and posture control which will last a lifetime.
- It strengthens your baby’s muscle and helps your baby become aware of what muscles need to be used for whatever he/she is trying to do.
- Coordination. Activities used to improve balance involves a lot of vestibular activities which teaches your baby to make use of his/her sensory organs. This helps your child recognize spatial orientation. To know where he/she is, how far he/she is from certain objects and how much he/she will have to move to avoid or get to those objects.
Activities to improve balance.
There are a lot of Vestibular Activities and fun games you can do with your baby that are definitely worth your free time, your baby having fun will encourage him/her to do it more. You will find your baby trying to do these activities by him/herself which is great in developing their whole body. The fact that they are engaging helps stimulate their brain and actually trying to do those exercises go a long way in developing their muscles.
- Personal walking assistant. Be your baby’s PA, stand behind your baby and hold his/her hands and motivate your baby to walk. This makes use of your baby’s leg muscles as he/she is trying to walk and balance as well as helping your child stay upright by holding him/her which help your baby understand a correct posture would be upright instead of leaning forward.
- Couch potato. Have your baby stand and hold onto one end of the couch and grab a bag of your child’s favorite snack. Sit on the other end and let your baby walk toward you, she will instinctively use the couch as a helping hand but he/she will be doing all the work stimulating leg and hand muscles.
- Tuck and roll. Any toy or game that allows your baby to roll over and spin around safely helps develop the vestibular system. Engaging in playtime that is fast paced or energetic allows for excellent coordination development. Get creative, sit on the floor and let your baby run around you or have him/her twirl around while holding your finger. If you have a pet, let them join in the fun.
- Swings. Swings with a little seat works great in helping your baby sit upright and also stimulates your baby’s spatial awareness. Your baby develops the ability to understand when he/she is moving fast and slowing down. This is an excellent way to stimulate coordination.
- Get up and sit. Let your baby sit on the floor up against the couch and encourage her to stand up using your hands to help him/herself. Repeat this until your baby runs out of enthusiasm. Do it every day and you will find your baby will no longer need you to help stand up. This targets the muscles, coordination and posture.
Almost anything your baby actively engages in can be regarded as an exercise to help your child’s development because, your baby is constantly working as he/she is new to everything. These exercises just help in improving your baby’s balance and with so many benefits why not give it a shot. Your baby will thank you.