Friday, April 27, 2007

How to help a clumsy child?

A parent asked for ideas with a child who, for whatever reason, is considerably less agile than much smaller children, and is frustrated by their failure to manage physical tasks they would like to manage.

I suggested

1. Find a way to help child to be less clumsy. Not sure what that would requre, and it would depend on the interests of the child, but I am thinking of swimming, rock climbing, ball games, drawing, riding a bike or a scooter, climbing at the playground or soft play centre... So many things require physical coordination - it must be possible to find one in which the child shows interest and potential. Also in this category maybe needs to come a sight test (I'm pretty damn clumsy without my glasses, and even with them, because my peripheral vision is so compromised). Probably too expensive, but there are things to think about with relation to faulty kinaesthesia (which most people have - we don't really know where our limbs are or our spines; we think our fingers are straight but when we look down they are usually curved) which might be worth exploring with an Alexander technique teacher. Perhaps dance or gymnastics would aid physical coordination in a non-competitive environment.

2. In tandem with this, help child explore, reinforce, revel in the things they already ARE good at and value.

3. In tandem with THAT, perhaps explore how some people are good at some things rather than other things. While cooking (say) comes dead easily to the hypothetical child, running doesn't, but while Jilly can run like anything, she can't even make a cup of coffee and she's already 9. And then explore how people get good at things. There must be age-appropriate books and films out there about how people gradually get good at things (although if it's a movie, they'll put it in a montage, a la Team America, which is perhaps less useful)

I've reposted this from a discussion board, but on rereading I am now wondering: can you have three things in tandem, or is it two, by definition?...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely suggest the Alexander Technique - you can learn more at