Workouts for you & baby
You need to workout and get your body back. Your baby needs to be with you. What do you do? Work out together! These exercises both work your muscles and give baby the lessons they are working on. It’s a win-win!
Abdominal Strengtheners: Sit-ups
Lie on your back and have your child straddle your stomach, facing towards you. You sit up; he pushes you back to lying. You sit up again, and he pushes again and so on and so on. He may be the only one giggling, but your abdominal muscles will be stronger for it, believe me.
Your child will get experience in reciprocal play. He pushed you down, you pop up, and s/he pushes again and again. Later he’ll use this back and forth skill in conversing; now he’ll be learning the foundation for conversation– taking turns.
Inner Thigh Stretches: Butterfly
Sit with the soles of your feet together. Your child sits on one knee. Bounce your legs up and down, like a butterfly fluttering its wings. This stretches inner thigh muscles and is silly fun for baby. Remember to switch your child to the other knee so both sides continue to match!
Your child’s vestibular system is getting stimulated by the up and down movement and giving him feedback on balancing. If you hold your child by the waist or hips instead of the rib cage, s/he also gets to work on trunk strengthening, important muscles for sitting.
Thigh Strengtheners: Leg Lifts
Lie on your back, knees bent towards chest. Flex your feet and place them on babies belly. Hold his hands to keep him steady as you straighten your legs and lift him into the air. You’ll probably hear squeals of delight as he overcomes fear! Then, bend your knees back to your chest and then straighten again. Alternate the two movements until the baby (or you) have had enough. She’ll be like a circus act and you’ll develop thighs to die for.
All children, especially kids with sensory differences love this exciting vestibular and proprioceptive exercise as it works on balance and body awareness. Modify the movements to fit your child and you. Maybe, just a little lift to start with and, over time, builds up to extended legs. You’ll probably find that older siblings want a turn, too! However it goes, it’s a good workout for you!
Lower Back Stretches:Forward Lean
Sit with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Place your helper on your back, holding his arms with your hands. Lean forward, attempting to touch your forehead to your knees. Don’t strain, be kind to your body. Instead breathe deeply in for four counts and exhale fully for four counts letting your body go lower with each exhale. Bounce lightly on each count. Your child gets a good arm stretch, sweet smooth bouncing and the snuggled comforting closeness of being on mom’s back.
Lower Back Strengtheners: Seesaw
Sit on the floor facing each other with your legs spread open in a V. Then, holding hands, one person leans forward while the other leans backward. Keep seesawing back and forth with each person taking a turn bending forward and leaning backwards.
“Row Row Row Your Boat’ is a good song to sing for this stretch.
Children get more reciprocal play plus an experience with rhythm; a skill that will be very useful for speech.
Your child may be tired after and take a nap. You could too! And who knows what else may come from all this besides a toned up flexible body, a lot of laughs and a close moment with your young. Why, you and your baby could get so good at these exercises, you’ll make up more variations and prepare a performing act to show at the next play date but best of all, you will find the perfect delightful exercise partner–your child.
Previously published in Parenting Special Needs.org Jan/Feb 2016