Balance is the ability to maintain a controlled body position during task performance, whether it is sitting at a table, walking the balance beam or stepping up onto a kerb. To function effectively across environments and tasks, we need the ability to maintain controlled positions during both static (still) and dynamic (moving) activities.
Age appropriate balance and coordination allows a person to be involved in the participation of sport with a reasonable amount of success as it will aid fluid body movement for physical skill performance (e.g. walking a balance beam or playing football). The involvement in sport is helpful in maintaining self regulation for daily tasks as well as developing a social network and achieving a sense of belonging in a community or social setting. Furthermore children will be able to maintain appropriate and controlled body movement during task performance which reduces the energy required and minimises fatigue.
With good balance and coordination there is less likelihood of injury as a child will have appropriate postural responses as (and when) needed (e.g. putting hands out to protect yourself when you fall). The physical attributes of balance and coordination also allow for appropriate posture for table top tasks and subsequent success at fine motor tasks.
This is a simple activity to help your child stay focussed while mastering the ability to balance and build core strength!
Hold your child’s hand while he practices walking across a balance beam or curb
An alternative is to use the BOSU ball and practice balancing on top. Make sure to practice on a soft surface to avoid injuries and such activities should be done under adult supervision
For older/ more advanced children, help them balance by outstretching their arms and looking at a distant point in front
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.