15 Physical Therapy Tips for Home
As parents, you want to help your child as much as you can, even if they are already receiving therapies. Sometimes, brains can't hold all the information from a therapist during a session...or you lose the handouts they gave you. So, here is a list of activities you can keep going back to...or print at home, to help your little one. These activities can help any child from 9 months (if they are standing up independently) to 3-5 years old. This list specifically helps with strengthening legs and core, balance and coordination, body awareness, and in-toeing/out-toeing while walking or running.
- Walk on pillows, couch cushions, or blankets on the floor. This exercise helps with strengthening legs, core, and balance. It also helps with learning to step over obstacles without tripping.
- Put shoes on opposite feet to prevent toes from turning inward.
- Avoid W-sitting, if your child prefers to sit like this while playing or watching TV. W-sitting is a term to describe a sitting position in which the child’s bottom is on the floor while their feet are splayed out to the sides - forming a "W" shape with the legs and knees. Encourage you child to use alternative sitting positions to maintain good posture.
- Bounce/jump on the bed or couch with supervision/assistance. It is ok to hold your child’s hands or at their waist to help “feel” the jumping pattern.
- Sit on a small rubber bouncy ball with feet on the floor (knees bent as if your child was sitting on a toddler-size chair). Provide support by holding your child’s hands or waist as your child bounces up/down.
- Sit on animal hoppers/bouncers (if you have one) and bounce up/down.
- If you have a small bouncy house, work on maintaining balance and posture while bouncing up/down. Again, you can help your child bounce by holding their hands or waist.
- Play in a squat position where your child has to squat to pick up toys/snacks and stand up to put on the objects on a table/shelf.
- Place toys/snacks on a high shelf/counter/table so your child has to reach up and stand on their tiptoes to grab objects.
- Climb up/down from the couch with supervision/assistance.
- Climb up slides (Step2 or playground slides) with supervision/assistance. This activity helps to strengthen legs and core, as well as, improving balance and coordination.
- Crawl through a play tunnel or fort made out of blankets; crawl under the table or chairs. These types of activities help with body awareness.
- Climb/step in and out of a laundry basket to help with balance and coordination.
- Push a laundry basket or box filled with toys/clothes (to weigh it down).
- Walk up a hill/incline. This exercise helps with strengthening legs, core, and balance. It is ok to hold your child’s hand!
Enjoy your little ones and have fun trying these activities with them!!
-Whitney Castle, PT, DPT