What is that rush that you feel after a great workout? What are those emotions that make us happy? What about the awareness that we have from after going to the gym?
If you’re like most people, when you work out, your emotions change in a positive way. You increase your body awareness.
One of the areas I have found recently to be of great concern to the parents of the children I see is their child’s regulation of their emotions. As an occupational therapist and as someone who bonds with a child over play, I feel I am in a unique position to address this area.
I have found that the children I see in occupational therapy for sensory regulation or sensory integration therapy often struggle with their emotions.
From an occupational therapy standpoint, I find that the children that have poor body awareness often are not in tune with their body and as a result, they are not in tune with their emotions.
This is so important as when we increase our awareness and we are in tune with our bodies, we are in tune with our emotions. This brings me to show you how we can help our children to be more aware with their bodies.
How can we help our children to grow their social and emotional awareness?
There are many opportunities to let our children grow in this sense. Here are a few examples:
- Cognitive activities like reading books
- Doing activities that stem from reading books
- Studying our environment
When we practice these exercises, we allow our children to become more aware of themselves.
When does body awareness begin?
You’ll be surprised, but body awareness can begin very young in children. There are so many opportunities to give our children the body awareness exercises:
- Playing in front of the mirror is the best way to have a child reflect on himself or herself
- Parents can help by doing finger painting on the mirror
- Placing stickers on the mirror
- Using games that suction unto the mirror
All of these examples involve a mirror so that children are able to see themselves.
Let’s start with babies and activities for babies…
If you remember, we started talking about the gym and exercising, so what about having activities for your baby?
You can have a workout with your baby. A baby’s workout is tummy time and crawling. Click here for more information that explains extensively the benefits of tummy time and the reasons why it is so important.
Any toys that you recommend for babies’ tummy time?
Recommended Toys for Tummy Time
Tummy Time - Laying Down
Luchild Inflatable Duck Water Mat for Baby Kids
This is an example of a toy that I would recommend for tummy time as it allows the baby to be engaged and entertained while practicing tummy time.
This mat has many animals and different drawings that draw the attention of the baby in order to keep him or her engaged. Even though it says it is a water mat, the way this is being described is for tummy time on a flat surface, not on water. The baby can rely on the borders to rest and play.
Needless to say, you always have to be watching and supervising the baby.
Recommended Toys for Tummy Time
Tummy Time - Roller Toy
Playgro Baby Toy Tumble Jungle Musical Peek in Roller
This toy is called the Playgro Baby Toy Tumble Jungle Musical Peek in Roller for Baby Infant Toddler Children.
The roller has music for auditory stimulation, chime balls and a great design that babies love to play wth. This toys encourages imagination and creativity for a great start, as the name suggests, but it also about getting babies to start crawling as the babies try to “run after it”.
This is a great way to get babies to work on very important muscles.
If you have a walking baby, I also recommend toys that bring awareness into the feet as they stomp on the pad.
Feet Awareness - Stomping Toy
Zoordo Musical Mat,Kingseye Baby Early Education Music Piano Keyboard Carpet Animal Blanket Touch Play Safety Learn Singing Funny Toy for Kids
This toy is a great option to encourage awareness into the feet. This toy is a musical mat and when a baby steps on the notes and the numbers, the mat makes noise and music so the baby is engaged with his or her feet.
By being creative and playing the notes, the baby will have a great time and will be practicing awareness in their bodies.
Is there a specific activity that I can practice with my child or for someone who is a little bit older?
Other Types of Awareness
Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter
That toy is a great way to practice fine motor skills as the child suctions the toys to the surface and must use strength to remove it.
I find that preschool age children especially enjoy it.
Not only are they able to suction the toy into the mirror, like we have already mentioned, but also into other surfaces like windows, other toys and within themselves.
The best part is that children can get creative and play with these toys to build something – a robot, a space rocket, a car, a building, anything that the child can come up with. It is a great opportunity to let a child be creative with these toys and still practice awareness with an extra addition of practicing other skills.
As you can see, there are many options to bring awareness to our bodies. From babies to crawlers, to walkers and even older children, it is important that parents and caregivers promote and motivate different types of games and toys so that the child can practice awareness and develop in different areas.
In which way will you practice body awareness to bring out the emotions for our children?
Disclaimer: These toys we've personally used and strongly recommend them. At no extra cost to you, we may earn a small commission for referring you to an external site. Thank you