BABY BALANCE

 

 

 

MAGNIFICENTCHILDREN.LOVE

 

GROW YOUR MAGNIFICENT CHILD

 

CHAPTER 42

 

LEVEL 6.

 

BALANCE: FROM BABY TO GYMNAST. Baby’s balance development.

 

 

 

Human mobility, as when running walking and dancing, is significantly reliant upon the senses of balance, touch and vision.   

 

When a human walks, runs, dances, hops or moves in other ways, she usually needs to know where she is, where she is moving too, and how she will move. Her brain compares what she has learnt in the past with; (i) what she sees with her eyes, (ii) feels with the nerves in her skin (including on the soles of her feet) and other tissue and (iii) senses with her sense of balance as the earth’s gravity pulls on her. Doing all this in an instant is very easy for most adults but it is a very complex procedure for a child who is still learning and developing. It is, of course, impossibly complex for a newborn child.  

 

While your child’s mobility is reliant upon her sense of balance it is interesting to note that mobility is also what develops your child’s sense of balance. In other words, your child’s mobility creates better balance ability and better balance ability creates better mobility. 

 

Excellent balance and mobility expertise: 

 

To further develop their child’s sense of balance at this Level 6, parents now provide their child with the environment, and the opportunity, to do movements that will take her to the next level of balance and mobility expertise.  

 

Arguably, the highest levels of mobility expertise are; (i) to be able to run at high speed across rugged terrain, (ii) to dance as a ballroom dancer or ballerina with excellence, (iii) to perform gymnastics with excellence.  

 

Whilst building on the activities in previous Levels the following activities are intended to provide your child with the excellent balance development required for running, dancing and performing gymnastics in future years. These activities should also provide her with the basic balance development required to be an excellent surfer, tennis player, sailor, golfer and basketball player: or to participate with balance excellence in other movement activities. 

 

 

Fun balance activities for parents and children:

 

  1. A wide variety of balance experiences.  

 

Choose 10 activities that your child will enjoy from the following list each day and have fun doing them with her. Sometimes some of these activities can be put together in a circuit. Sometimes it is better to do them separately so your child remains interested or because the equipment required is at different locations. The balance development objective in doing these activities is to give your child many opportunities each day to experience being in different positions at fast and slow speeds.  These activities are also multisensual and will contribute to other sense development and learning, and should be great fun. Try to choose the activities that your child will most enjoy and which give her a broad range of different experiences. For example, climbing trees and swimming are two very different experiences. 

 

One minute should be spent doing each of these activities every day. 

 

Some of these activities can obviously be carried out for longer than one minute and your child might enjoy doing them for ten or more minutes. Swimming, jumping into water, boating, hiking and tree climbing are some examples. But, although doing these activities for longer than one minute benefits your child’s balance development, other activities to make up the ten daily should still be done to ensure a variety of daily balance development experiences. Maintaining variety helps to provide your child with balance development experiences throughout the day, from morning to night. It also, of course, makes the day more enjoyable for her. It is very unlikely that your child will be able to do an activity such as push-ups perfectly for 1 minute. She can simply do her best and have fun doing it. Your child’s best for push-ups is likely to mean her knees (and perhaps her hips) will remain on the floor and her shoulders and head will be raised from the floor and lowered again about 5 to 10 times. 

 

Try to do all these activities with your child moving quickly (and safely of course) as she will probably do the activities slower, by herself, for at least part of the time. Higher speed balance experiences are important to develop quick reaction abilities but slow balance experiences are also important to develop grace and elegance in movement.

 

 Climbing and jumping.  

 

Children usually like to climb and jump. Your child will usually require little encouragement to participate in climbing and jumping activities. All the climbing and jumping activities in the list below can be dangerous if not done safely. Magnificentchidren.love parents prefer to teach their child how to climb trees or jump down from a low wall safely than to avoid teaching her and risk her being injured if she tries to jump or climb one day when a parent is not available to help her. If your child wants to climb or jump at any time during the day you can have the pleasure of both helping her to do so safely and knowing that she is participating in one or more of her daily balance development activities. 

 

Horse riding:  

 

Horse riding is another activity that helps to develop your child’s ability to balance. Children can usually begin horse riding when they are about 2.5 years old. Of course, the horse must be gentle and well behaved and initially baby will need close supervision to ensure that she does not fall. A helmet and suitable stirrups and riding boots are required, a small pony is ideal and the assistance of an expert rider as teacher is necessary. If horses are available baby can be familiarised with them from about six months of age by touching and befriending them. 

 

 

ACTIVITIES LIST:

 

Choose 10 activities each day and do each activity for one minute or more. Choose activities according to your available environment or the environment you can create but try to change activities each month or two if possible. 

 

 

 

Climbing trees  

 

Climbing knotted rope 

 

Climbing a rope ladder 

Dancing  

 

Running in breaking waves on beach  

 

Climbing a step ladder  

 Hiking 

 

Walking or running over rough terrain  

 Walking through waist deep water 

Swimming  

 

Boat rocking  

 

Slippery-slide 

 

 

Vigorous digging in sand  

 

Riding waves on a body board  

 

Jumping into deep water  

 

Snow or grass sledding  

 

Walking while carrying an object  

 

Roller blading  

 

Roller Skating 

 

Rock climbing  

 

Forward rolls  

 

Backward rolls  

 

Trampoline jumping  

 

Playing hot potato 

 

Walking with eyes closed  

 

 Hopping on one leg 

 

Walking up and downstairs  

 Jumping vertically  

 

Jumping horizontally  

 

Wrestling  

 

Pillow tossing

 

Balloon chasing  

 

Stepping stones

 

Various amusement rides  

 

Floating on water  

 

Push ups

 

Touching toes  

 

Balance beam- like walking  

 

Trapeze

 

Climbing over cushions  

 

 Flying in light 

aircraft  

 

Horse, camel or other animal riding

 

Skateboarding  

 

Pirouetting  

 

Sit ups

 

Running or walking in soft sand  

 

 Skipping rope  

 

Falling or being dropped onto soft surface  

 

Diving  

 

Climbing and jumping

 

Sailing 

 

Any safe balance activities that your child enjoys  

 

Body board riding in 

surf (swimmers only)

 

Climb on an adventure playground

 

 

 

 

  1. Balance Beam. 

 

  1. Continue to do the daily balance beam activities as in Level 5. That is, three sessions of three lengths daily. Walking a total of nine lengths of the balance beam each day. 

 

  1. When your child can walk one length of the balance beam without stepping off every three or four times she tries, then she can begin walking backwards for one length of the beam each session.  

 

Therefore your child can continue, for now, to walk three lengths of the balance beam each session but she can now walk two lengths forwards and one length backwards.

 

Encourage her to walk backwards without falling off. Gently and carefully encourage her not to turn her head to look over her shoulder. Encourage her to keep her head up and look straight ahead as she walks backwards (just as she should do when she is walking forwards on the beam).  

 

  1. When your child can walk the length of the balance beam forwards and backwards without falling off once out of every two times then the height of the beam can be raised by 100 millimetres. The top of the beam will now be 200 millimetres above floor level as shown in the drawing below. Have at least a soft carpet on the floor below her but preferably a gym mat.  

 

 

 

 

      

    

       

 

        

           

   

   

 

 

 

Make your child’s balance beam as shown in the diagram above. 

 

It is best if the timber is a heavy hardwood rather than a light pine or similar timber as this reduces the chances of it moving when being walked on. The three timber pieces should all be firmly fixed together with nails or, screws or bolts to prevent movement when being used by your child. A vinyl surface can be fitted to the beam to soften the edges and reduce the chance of splinters, or other injury, if desired. Ready made balance beams are available from gym suppliers if required. 

 

  1. When your child has been walking the balance beam 200 millimetres above floor level for one month the number of daily lengths walked forward and backwards on the beam can gradually be increased from 9 each day to 24 each day. Also the number of balance beam sessions can be increased from 3 each day to 4 each day as shown in the table below. 

 

The table shows how lengths walking forward and lengths walking backward can be added to balance beam sessions and the number of balance beam sessions is increased from 3 to 4 each day.

 

MONTH

 

NUMBER OF SESSIONS PER DAY

TOTAL LENGTHS WALKED ON BALANCE BEAM EACH SESSION

NUMBER OF LENGTHS WALKED FORWARDS EACH SESSION

NUMBER OF LENGTHS WALKED BACKWARDS EACH SESSION

1

4

3

2

1

2

4

3

2

1

3

4

3

2

1

4

4

3

2

1

5

4

4

2

2

6

4

4

2

2

7

4

4

2

2

8

4

4

2

2

9

4

5

3

2

10

4

5

3

2

11

4

5

3

2

12

4

5

3

2

13

4

5

3

2

14

4

5

3

2

15

4

6

3

3

16

4

6

3

3

 

  1. Approximately three months after the beam is raised to 200 millimetres above floor level and, if your child is successfully walking the length of the beam forwards and backwards, the beam can be raised another 100 millimetres above floor level.  The top of the beam will now be 300 millimetres above floor level.

 

 Forward Rolls.

 

Continue to do 10 sessions of forward rolls each day, as in Level 5, but now gradually increase each session from one minute to five minutes.  

 

 

To gradually increase forward rolling sessions from one minute to five minutes add 20 seconds to each forward roll session approximately each month; as shown in the table to the right. 

 

During each forward roll session encourage your child to roll frequently. Encourage her to do continuous rolling sequences when she may do 2, 3 or 5, or perhaps even 10 forward rolls non-stop; going from one roll immediately into the next. 

 

Before doing continuous rolling sequences your child will first need to learn to roll quickly and accurately enough to complete a forward roll and land on her feet. 

 

 

 

MONTH

FORWARD ROLL SESSION TIME

1

1 min. 20 secs.

2

1 min. 40 secs.

3

2 minutes.

4

2 min. 20 secs.

5

2 min. 40 secs.

6

3 minutes.

7

3 min. 20 secs.

8

3 min. 40 secs.

9

4minutes.

10

4 mins. 20 secs.

11

4 mins. 40 secs.

12

5 minutes.

 

 

She will then begin her next roll, and complete it by landing on her feet, and so on.

 

  1. Log Rolls.

 

Continue to do log rolls as in Level 5 but now gradually increase from 4 sessions of 10 log rolls in each direction in each session per day to 20 log rolls in each direction in each session; as shown in the following table.

Keep in mind that an average child could take 36 months or longer to build up to 20 log rolls per session. Therefore it is prudent to stop log rolls for one or two weeks if your child becomes disinterested, has a temporary lapse of enjoyment, becomes ill, or for any other good reason. Your child’s happiness and well being is the ultimate goal of magnificentchidren.love. Earlier Levels provide some suggestions about how to make logrolling more enjoyable if required. 

 

 

 

 

 

MONTH

 

NUMBER OF SESSIONS EACH DAY

NUMBER OF

ROLLS PER SESSION IN EACH DIRECTION

1

4

10

2

4

11

3

4

12

4

4

13

5

4

14

6

4

15

7

4

16

8

4

16

9

4

16

10

4

17

11

4

17

12

4

17

13

4

18

14

4

18

15

4

19

16

4

19

17

4

19

18

4

20

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