Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tatty Bumpkin’s Yoga Activity Fish Pose. A chance for your child to refine their vestibular system

By Sue Heron – Training Co-ordinator Tatty Bumpkin and Paediatric Physiotherapist 

This Week’s Tatty Bumpkin Yoga Activity is Fish

If possible we encourage parents and carers to do the Tatty Bumpkin poses along with their child. This is because:
  • Children learn a great deal from watching and copying
  • As you move with your child you nurture the close bond between you both 
  • It gives you a chance to have a stretch!
However, do look after your own body - if anything hurts do stop. If you are not sure whether Fish pose is suitable for you - consult a health professional. 

Firstly find a non-slip mat, or an area of carpet, where you can both do the pose. 
Make sure you both have enough room to avoid bumps and knocks. Take off your socks and shoes- it’s far better to do fish pose with bare feet :-).  
  • Lay a strip of, ideally blue, fabric on a non-slip surface – this is the river!  Your piece of fabric should not be too long – just long enough for a couple of rolls. 
  • Guide your child to lie down at one end of the fabric, with their body straight against the edge.  
  • Once they are straight encourage your child to roll down the fabric - like a fish rolling in the river!
  • If your child finds it hard to start rolling - gently help them by guiding their feet to cross over each other in the direction of the roll. 

Fish rolling down the river..
  • Your child can also try rolling with you or a friend. They may find it easier to roll with someone else!  Lie down, alongside each other, decide which way to roll, then roll down the fabric side by side. 
It's fun to do fish pose with a friend!

  • Don’t let encourage your child roll for too long as this can lead to them becoming over-stimulated and finding it difficult to calm down! 

Progressions for Fish Pose 

If your child is confident in fish pose they can try rolling opposite you- or a friend. In this activity your child will be rolling with their arms above their head, which is harder to do.
  • Lie down opposite your child so you are facing each other.
  • Wriggle away from each other so you can both put your arms above your heads but keep your finger-tips touching. 
  • Decide which direction you are going to roll in, then see if you can roll together - keeping your finger-tips touching. 

Fish Pose for Younger Children

If your child is younger (under 2 years) they may enjoy rolling down your legs! 
  • Find a comfortable place to sit - either on a mat or a clear piece of carpet. You may find it comfortable to sit up against a wall - so your back is more supported. Be careful to protect your back whilst you are doing this activity with your child.
  • Stretch your legs out in front of you
  • Then guide your child to lie across your thighs. Encourage them to keep their arms by their sides and make sure their head is ‘free and comfortable', so they do not strain their neck. 
  • Start the pose by rocking your child gently side to side- so they get the idea.
  • Then, if you both feel comfortable, gently guide your child to roll down your legs and back towards to you. Support and guide your child at their hips and shoulders as they roll.  
Fish pose - rolling down legs!

Why Fish Pose is 'Good for your Child'

Fish pose will give your child the opportunity to:

Refine and Stimulate their ‘Vestibular’ Sense 

Just as our hearing sense tells us about sounds around us, our 'vestibular' sense tells us:
  • Which way we up we are - are we upside down or the right way up? 
  • Where our head is in relation to our body and the ground
  • Whether we are still or moving - and which direction we are going.
Our receptors for our vestibular sense are found deep in our ear area – our ‘middle ear'. They are particularly stimulated by activities which move our heads quickly in different directions e.g. jumping, rolling, spinning, swinging. 

Young children instinctively know the movements their body needs to develop. Because a refined vestibular system is so important for development, both of the mind and the body, young children tend to enjoy spinning, jumping and swinging activities - all of which stimulate their vestibular sense. The trick is to guide your child to do these activities for a just short time - as doing spinning, jumping games for too long can result in over-excitement - see below. 

Vestibular activities help your child to:

Refine co-ordination and balance skills
As your child grows, and changes their body shape, it’s important they build an accurate 'body map' in their mind - their body schema. This mental map tells your child how their body parts relate to one another and work together. A refined body map gives your child a deep inner body confidence - enabling them to tackle a wide range of tasks in different situations. 

Manage their 'levels of alertness'
The vestibular sense is, in some ways, the ‘volume control’ for our body. 
Activities which strongly stimulate the vestibular system (jumping, spinning, swinging) will make your child feel more alert. Whilst activities which do not stimulate the vestibular system - or only gently so e.g. rocking slowly or just lying still, will help your child to calm down. 
So as your child rolls in fish pose they will not only be refining co-ordination skills they will also be gently alerting themselves. Hence fish pose makes a great ‘movement break’. 

Increase their awareness of their ‘midline’
As your child rolls in fish pose they will have to cross the ‘midline’ of their body again and again. If your child is more aware of their midline – they will be able to do more complex activities such as dressing quickly or writing more easily. 

Strengthen their tummy and spinal muscles
As your child rolls from their back onto their front - they will be largely using their tummy muscles. As your child move from their tummy onto their back -they will be largely using their back muscles. Rolling consequently encourages your child to work their tummy and back muscles alternatively in quick succession - this builds up great co-ordination between these two main muscle groups which is important for your child's overall stability and balance.

The Tatty Bumpkin Adventure this Week

Remember, for you and your child to gain the full benefit of all the Tatty Bumpkin Yoga and multi-sensory activities, find out about your local Tatty Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html. Or, ask your child’s nursery if they are doing Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity sessions as part of their day. 

Our qualified Tatty Bumpkin Teachers are fully trained in aspects of child development and Yoga and are kept fully up-to-date by our professional team of paediatric physiotherapists, Yoga teachers and musicians. All the Tatty Bumpkin stores are aligned to the Early Years Foundation Stage (England) and  the Curriculum for Excellence (Scotland) this means the sessions not only enhance your child’s physical skills they also develop their communication, social and thinking skills. 

Discovering the 'power of pointing'! 

Love Tatty Bumpkin x

A New Start with Tatty Bumpkin?  

Or, maybe, you are thinking of a new career which gives you:
  • The opportunity to work with kids
  • A great sense of job satisfaction and
  • Flexible working to fit around your own family

Find out how you could be trained to deliver Baby and Tatty Bumpkin classes in your area at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/business/index.html

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