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How a child perceives himself in space

Proprioception is a person's perception of information about the contraction or stretching of one's own muscles, as well as about the position of different body parts relative to each other.

Proprioception is needed by children and adults in everyday life at every step: to walk on sand, to see and walk straight on a path, to pick up a glass of water, to wave, to avoid bumping into other people, and the list goes on and on.

The main receptors of the proprioceptive system are:

  • muscle spindles — perceive the degree of stretching of muscle fibres;

  • Golgi tendon organs—receive information about the degree of tendon tension;

  • joint mechanoreceptors — perceive information about the position of the joint and movement in it.

So it's a whole system that can fail if not handled properly. A reduced sense of proprioception can lead to clumsiness, poor coordination, poor posture, using too much or too little force, reduced body awareness, deficits in motor planning, and more.

How do we help children develop proprioception?

At Jo.Ha.Ku classes trainers use special exercises on special equipment to stimulate the child's proprioceptive receptors and gross motor skills, primarily by stretching and compressing muscles. That is, actions that stimulate resistance and movement stimulate nerve endings that are responsible for proprioception.

But it is not always possible to attend our classes regularly, and it is important to support the child's sensory development. Therefore, here are some examples of proprioceptive activities for children that can be performed at home without special equipment:

  • push (compresses nerve endings) and pull on oneself (stretches nerve endings) large objects, for example, push a heavy basket, pull a loaded bag;

  • jumping or bouncing, for example, trampoline exercises, jumping on a large ball;

  • wrap yourself tightly in a blanket or towel;

  • hug yourself to feel the position of the body in space;

  • carry bulky objects, for example, a backpack, stacks of books;

  • digging sand with a large shovel, sweeping the floor;

  • play tug-of-war;

  • knead the dough with your hands and roll it out with a rolling pin.

We wish everyone love and safety! We are Jo.Ha.Ku!

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