5 Ways Physical Therapists Help Children Grow Stronger & Happier
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!