Kids with hypermobility or low tone are often found standing in the most dysfunctional of positions. Toes pointing in, feet rolled in or out, feet on top of each other: take your pick, because these kids will alternate between these wobbly choices and more! Read How To Improve Posture In Children With Low Muscle Tone… Without a Fight! and How To Correctly Reposition Your Child’s Legs When They “W-Sit” for some other ideas. But if you want a quick idea that works to help a child stand up with better control and stability, read on.
Telling a child to “fix your feet” often makes no sense to them, or gets ignored. Passively repositioning their feet doesn’t teach them anything, and can annoy children who feel that they are being manhandled.
What Can You Do?
Tell Them To “Stomp-Stomp”!
Have the child stomp their feet. Repeat if necessary (or because they want to). It is simple, you can demonstrate it easily, and most kids grin happily and eagerly copy you. It is fun to stomp your feet. It also give kids a chance to move in place, which they often need when socially distancing in a classroom.
Why Does It Work?
Because in order to stomp their feet, they have to bring their attention to their feet, shift their weight from one foot to the other in order to lift their foot up, and their feet almost always end up placed in a more aligned position after stomping.
Many of the goal boxes their PT and your OT have on their list are checked. Kids don’t feel controlled or criticized. They are having fun. Sensory input happens in a fun way, not as an exercise.
Want more help with your child, or help improving treatment plans as a therapist?
I wrote three e-books for you!
The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone, and the two books in the JointSmart Child series on hypermobility are all valuable resources for parents and therapists. I wrote them because there is simply nothing out there that provides an explanation for why these symptoms make life so difficult for kids (and parents, and teachers, and even therapists!) and what can be done to make everyday life better.
Learn why low tone and hypermobility both create sensory processing issues, and what kinds of social and emotional issues are understood to accompany hypotonia and hypermobility. When parents see these issues as complex rather than only about strength and stability, they start to feel more empowered and more positive.
Read more about these books, available for purchase on Amazon and Your Therapy Source, in A Practical Guide to Helping the Hypermobile School-Age Child Succeed, and The JointSmart Child Series: Parents of Young Hypermobile Children Can Feel More Empowered and Confident Today! as well as The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone: Potty Training Help Has Arrived!