national physical therapy month

National Physical Therapy Month
5 Ways Physical Therapists Help Children Grow Stronger & Happier
5 Ways Physical Therapists Help Children Grow Stronger & Happier 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Every day, we perform physical tasks like going up the stairs, taking a drink of water, and even walking.  These are basic movements that we do not give much thought to because we do them all the time.  However, if you are a parent of a child who has a delay in development or an injury, you know all too well that these “simple” tasks can present some very frustrating challenges.  These are just a small sampling of tasks that pediatric physical therapists (PTs), like the therapists on the PTN team, help families with each and every day.

This is why we feel it’s important to recognize and share that October is National Physical Therapy Month.  During this month, we get to not only celebrate the importance of movement, but also the many dedicated PTs out there who make a big difference in the lives of the patients and families they work with.  With this theme in mind, we want to touch on a few very important ways our team of physical therapists can help your child develop,  achieve incredible physical milestones, and have a better quality of life!

  1. Get Stronger through Physical Play:  it will probably come as no surprise to you that kids learn a great deal through play.  This is why, during therapeutic sessions, our PTs spend time engaging in activities and games that allow children to have fun while doing physical exercises.  From activities centered around balance, to games that involve using movements and motions that allow your child to strengthen their bodies, play is a great way to help children get stronger.
  2. Moving on Up:  when working with children, our physical therapists will focus on improving movement and mobility.  PTs working with an infant may help parents with tummy time so their child can practice motions and strengthen core muscles.  Other times, our physical therapists may teach kids and families stretches that improve their flexibility, allowing the muscles and joints to bend and move.
  3. Balancing Act:  physical therapists are often called upon to work with young children to improve their balance and coordination.  Sometimes, kids struggle with getting their bodies to move in a coordinated and functional manner which can present challenges with completing everyday activities.  This could prevent a child from being able to do more complex physical tasks as they get older.  By working with a PT and going through thought-out therapeutic exercises and treatment, kids can improve on their coordination and ability to balance, too.
  4. Growing Gross Motor Skills: rolling over, raising arms, pulling up, crawling, and walking all fall under the gross motor skills umbrella.  As you can imagine, these skills are imperative as they allow kids to move freely and do some pretty fun things, like running and jumping.  When children face developmental challenges with gross motor skills, a PT can be of great assistance.  Physical therapists help children learn how to use the larger muscles of their body by incorporating therapeutic techniques that increase both their strength and coordination.
  5. Finessing Fine Motor Skills:  think of all the things you do each day that involve the use of your fingers and hands.  From gripping a cup to take a drink, to writing, your fine motor skills are called upon so you can function through daily life.  Pediatric physical therapists work alongside our OT team to help children improve their fine motor skills through a vast array of structured, therapeutic activities that may include reaching and weight bearing activities to improve shoulder strength or ball play like throwing at a target or playing a game of catch. Each of these fun activities allow children to practice and refine their fine and visual motor skills and improve their dexterity.  

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the many ways in which PTs can help your child improve their physical abilities.  Remember that even though the exercises and activities may just seem physical in nature, your child is slowly working on building their confidence and inner strength too!  This is why so many of the physical therapists on our team often tell us that their jobs are hugely rewarding.  

National Physical Therapy Month!

5 Fun Activities to Work on Your Child’s Physical Therapy At Home
5 Fun Activities to Work on Your Child’s Physical Therapy At Home 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

October is National Physical Therapy Month, and we are ready to kick off the celebration! National Physical Therapy Month helps raise awareness of all the excellent benefits that come along with physical therapy, such as improving range of motion, flexibility, strength, balance, and much more.

Physical therapy is such an incredible tool for helping children and adults alike, and working with a physical therapist can genuinely change a person’s life for the better. On days that your child isn’t going to see a physical therapist, there are some wonderful activities that you can take part in as a family that will help work on their gross motor skills. Ready to get started? Here are 5 fun ways to get your child moving at home:

1. Animal Walk

Get ready to bring out your silly side! Place a piece of tape on the floor of one side of your living room and then another piece of tape on the other side of the room. Now, have your child walk like an animal from one piece of tape to the other. For example, you could have them walk like a crab, hop like a frog, walk like a dog, etc. Get creative and try to come up with as many different types of animal walks as you can think of!

2. Floor Ice Skating

If you don’t have time to visit an actual ice skating rink, bring the ice skating rink to your home! Grab two paper plates and have your child sit down and draw their best ice skate on each plate. Once they’re done, find a spot in your house where your child can skate the night away! Help them carefully stand on their skates, and then tell them to slide around on the “ice.”

3. Wheelbarrow Race

For this activity, you’ll need to work with your child to try and get from one point to the other as fast as you can. The tricky part? You’ll need to hold their legs up while they walk with their hands, mimicking a wheelbarrow. Grab a timer and see how long it takes you to get from point A to point B. Repeat the activity, try to beat your time, and see how fast you can go. If you have 4 people in your house, you can race against each other in teams of 2!

4. Traffic Light Stop and Go

You may want to bundle up for this next activity as it works best if you’re outside. Try to find a wide-open space where your child can run around, such as your yard or a park. You’ll begin on one side of the yard, and your child will start on the other side. When you’re ready, yell out “green light” and watch as your child starts running towards you. After a few seconds, you’re going to yell out, “red light.” Your child will need to stop in their tracks as quickly as possible. They must stay still until you decide to call out “green light” once again. Continue the game until your child makes it all the way to your side!

5. Toy Toss

This activity is an excellent way to work with your child on their eye/hand coordination while also cleaning up their toys in the process. First, you’re going to want to grab the basket or bin that you use to store your little one’s toys. Now, have them run around the room as fast as possible and grab each toy one at a time. Once they have a toy in hand, tell them to aim and toss it into the basket. Continue until all of the toys have been cleaned up!

Be sure to keep an eye on our social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest) all month long as we celebrate National Physical Therapy Month! We’ll be sharing tips, activities, resources, and more! As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time to discuss if your child would benefit from pediatric therapy. Our team is here to support both you and your child in any way that we can.

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