Physical activity is important for everyone, and kids need to stay active most of all. For children, fitness isn't just about staying in shape. It is one of the main ways that children socialize and enjoy life. Being active helps not only the body but the mind as well. Many people tend to unjustly view people with special needs by their limitations.
However, while they might not be able to participate in all activities, in the same manner, children with special needs are still quite capable of getting out there and enjoying physical activities with their friends. Here are some ideas for parents of fitness activities they can do with their special needs child. Depending on the type and severity of your child, some activities may need to be adjusted.
Make Fitness Fun
Making fitness fun is especially important for kids with special needs. However, it is also very helpful for all children and even many adults in keeping active. While big-time fitness buffs may enjoy doing pushups, most people either avoid them or simply do them in an effort to stay fit.
The need to stay physically fit is less of a pull on special needs children than your average adult. Because of this, exercise for the sake of exercise isn't going to be your best approach.
Incorporating exercise into fun games and enjoyable activities is going to be a much better approach. Here are some ideas for fun activities for your special needs child to get the exercise they require:
- Tug of War
- Simon Says
Due to a misplaced sense of embarrassment, some people shy away from dancing in public as they get older. The truth is, though, everyone loves to dance. You may disagree with that statement because you have a friend who claims to hate dancing. However, if you were to leave them in a room alone, with their favorite music and a hidden camera, you would see that even they can't help moving their body to the music when they think nobody is watching.
Children lacking these social inhibitions help to prove this point. Kids love to dance, and it is the perfect way to ensure they get the exercise they need. Songs aimed at children often have a set of wide-ranging dance moves that help to ensure that your child gets the full range of motion exercise that they need.
Tag is a great way to get your kids to run around. For children with lower body mobility issues, playing floor tag can be a great way to level the playing field. Everyone lies down on the floor and has to roll around to tag others.
Tug of War
Tug of war can be a great way to get your child stretched out. You can lay down pillows around your child to ensure that they don't get hurt in case of a fall.
Who doesn't love the swings? Having your kid go for a swing helps your child get a good core workout and helps them to improve their balance.
While doing jumping jack might not be your child's cup of tea, it is hard to find a kid, or adult for that matter, that doesn't enjoy a good jump on a trampoline. Even children in wheelchairs can be moved onto a trampoline and sit and bounce.
This game is an activity that can even help make pushups fun. Playing Simon Says is a great way to essentially run a full workout routine with your child like a personal trainer in a form that your child views as a fun game.
Swimming is one of the best possible workouts for anyone and can be all about play. Your child may enjoy learning new strokes and doing laps in the pool. However, even by simply moving around through the water and playing water games, they receive a good workout.
Understanding Your Child's Needs
Being a parent is difficult, and having a special needs child can present an additional challenge. Most people don't feel like they would be able to manage if they found themselves in that situation. The truth is, though, when it comes to our children, we tend to adapt.
Still, as parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our children and make their lives as easy as possible. This protection includes avoiding disability if at all possible. When expecting a child, it is important to know the cerebral palsy risk factors. Talk to your doctor about any potential concerns and how to improve the chances of a safe deliver