How does low muscle tone affect my child's posture in the classroom?
What is low muscle tone?
This week we will focus on a term frequently used by professionals like doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and teachers:" LOW MUSCLE TONE." But what is low muscle tone, and how can it influence my child's development and ability to achieve optimally in the classroom?
Why is muscle tone important for development?
MUSCLE TONE can be defined as the natural tension present in all the body muscles.
When a child presents with low muscle tone, the muscles' tension is not sufficient to assume and maintain different postures (e.g., sitting at a desk for extended periods while doing activities like reading and writing).
For this reason, children with low muscle tone often experience tiredness, battles with gross and fine motor skills, and often have difficulty sustaining their attention for long periods. A child with low muscle tone often reveals a weak body posture, their movements are clumsy, and they find large motor movements such as balance and coordination challenging.
These children also quickly get tired, struggle to sit upright and quiet on a chair for long periods and tend to get fidgety soon. They also often experience problems with fine motor tasks such as drawing, coloring and writing,
What can we do?
- Limit the time your child passively spends in front of the television.
- Encourage outdoor play and limit excessive use of electronic toys.
- Encourage physical activities, e.g., sport. Sport such as horseback riding, swimming, wrestling, gymnastics, and activities where your child should actively work against gravity are the best!!!
- Already lay healthy eating early and establish an active lifestyle.
- Make sure your child maintains the correct posture when doing homework at his desk.
- The correct posture provides additional stability for a child with a low muscle tone. This will ensure that the child can spend all available energy on important tasks such as concentration and learning without wasting unnecessary energy by stabilising his body against gravity.
- Consult a professional who can assist your child if you feel worried.
- The height of the chair and desk can and should be adjusted to suit the height and age of the child! A table suitable for your older Grade 5 child is not ideal for a Grade R or one learner. Similarly, the kitchen table or counter is not an optimal surface for homework!!!
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