What a huge accomplishment your child has achieved!! They have stumbled taking their first steps. Now they have mastered the art of walking! This is a huge accomplishment in the realm of development. However, many of us assume that once our kids are upright and mobile, our job is done, the child has accomplished the hardest and greatest gross motor task on the to-do list and there couldn’t be any other way to challenge them, and really no need to do so, right!? Not necessarily true, your child has in fact accomplished a huge gross motor feat, being able to walk upright, alone and without falling, but there is more! Can your child walk on uneven surfaces such as grass, sand, mulch and other terrains you encounter within your daily routine/environment? If you answered, “I don’t know” then let’s explore this further.
We live in sunny South Florida where we are lucky to have nice weather and access to the beach, parks and nice weather to play in the yard pretty much year round.
Mastering walking on an uneven surface such as grass and mulch will take practice and time just as walking on the tile floors or pavement outside did. You will see the following:
Wide legs- for a larger base of support to create stability
Arms out to the side- arms extended out to the side are used to balance
Forward falling- hands to the ground bent over as their weight shifts, they should be able to get right back up.
Wobbling side to side- one foot spends more time on the ground as their body shifts side to side.
Uneven surfaces challenge the body’s equilibrium and balance, engages the core for stability, strengthens smaller muscles in the feet and legs, and helps with arch development in the feet. Uneven terrain is equally as important for children who are sensory avoidant and do not prefer these types of surfaces. Grass, sand and mulch are great for integrating texture and for helping kids adjust to their environment. If sensory issues are impending your child’s ability to walk on even surfaces, start slow with introducing the texture. Be consistent with presenting the texture daily but allow for acclimation no matter how slow, don’t give up!
For more information feel free to ask any one of our great Therapists! Call us today or send us a message from our website and we will contact you!