Children should be encouraged to engage in activities throughout the day that provide proprioceptive input. This can be done through heavy work activities and activities that involve deep pressure. Activities that help ‘feed’ the proprioceptive system tend to have heavy resistance and input to the muscles and joints. This is an effective way of getting lots of information to our brain which, in turn, helps us to know what our body is doing and where it is in the environment. This can help with body awareness and movement skills. A child may appear floppy or weak if the muscles are not sending clear messages to the brain that we need to keep using them to continually stay upright. Activities with resistive and stretching type properties will ‘wake up’ the muscles and ligaments in order to send more efficient signals to the brain. This, in turn, should provide a better sense of where the body is. For example, if you close your eyes and squeeze your hand really tightly, you have a better sense of where your hand is because you can feel where it is. Body awareness/body ‘wake up’ activities should be carried out just before sit down activities – see ‘Wake up and Focusing’ handout.
Choose activities your child is motivated by and wants to engage in.