As the weather continues to warm up, more and more children are heading to the lake, ocean, or pool to enjoy fun in the water. If your child has mobility issues or other developmental issues, they might feel left out of this play, but in many cases, they don’t need to be!
Playing in the water with your child is a wonderful way to help them improve their strength, relax their muscles and mind, and gain social skills in an environment that is both stimulating and calming.
Aquatic therapy is the term used for physical therapy that happens in water, usually a pool. Our therapists love working with children in the water, because aquatic therapy has a number of benefits over land-based therapy for many children:
- Water reduces your body weight by about 90%, making it easier to move in the water and alleviating painful stress on joints. Many children with muscle or mobility issues are able to move with a greater range of motion in the water.
- Being submersed in water places a gentle pressure all over the body that can be very calming, much like a weighted blanket.
- Playing in the water is fun! Mixing up physical therapy sessions with a dip in the pool is a great way to add some excitement and joy to play therapy.
If you’ve never engaged in water therapy with your child before, you might want to start by reaching out to a trained physical therapist. Our aquatic therapists in Chicago can show you how to safely get your child into and out of the water and teach you proper techniques for keeping your child safe while in the water. Safety should always be your top concern in the pool!
Next, an aquatic therapist can show you a variety of games and exercises that you can enjoy in the water with your little one. Here are some examples:
- Building leg strength: While you hold their body facing away from you, you can have your child put their feet on the pool wall and push backward, helping build muscle strength and coordination.
- Improving mobility: Practicing walking or running in water that is about waist deep is a great way to build mobility skills in an environment where it won’t hurt if you take a tumble. Plus, the water adds extra resistance, helping build strength.
- Blowing bubbles: Learning how to blow bubbles in water is a lot of fun and helps with social engagement and lung capacity.
Newborn babies all the way up to the elderly can benefit from aquatic therapy. To learn more about our Chicago aquatic therapy sessions, contact our team today. You can also check out our Aquatic Therapy for Kids and Water Play boards on Pinterest for some great ideas on how you and your child can have fun in the water this summer!