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By Stefanie Maglio

Body awareness is the ability to understand where our bodies are in space and how they move. Body awareness helps us to understand how to relate to other objects and human beings in our environment. It can help us to know how far to reach for an object or how close to stand to a person. People who have a difficult time with body awareness may appear clumsy, uncoordinated, or have delays in motor skill development. These are some tips to help with body awareness for kids.

Proprioceptive input, or heavy work activities, gives our muscles and joints information about how our arms, legs, and torso move. Weight beating activities are typically proprioceptive input. Some examples include wheelbarrow walking, jumping, stomping the feet, push-ups, pushing/pulling, and carrying heavy objects.

Playing games that involve identifying body parts is a great way to encourage body awareness and self-regulation in kids. “Simon Says” is a great game to play to achieve this.

Mirror games are also a great technique. Have your child partner up with someone else and have him or her copy each other’s movements exactly. Mimicking different poses from body position cards may help.

Another technique is practicing special awareness. Set up obstacle courses for your children to go through. They will be learning about body awareness while having fun at the same time.

It’s important to know that body awareness is not the same for every child or individual.

Everyone has different bodies and body types. This is especially relevant to children, as their bodies are still growing. Allowing and teaching your child to be more aware of their own body and its movements through space can also help to boost self-esteem and confidence.

It is also important to be able to recognize when your child has poor body awareness. For example, children with poor body awareness prefer to be in small spaces as opposed to wide-open spaces. They may prefer to be in confined spaces such as forts, or wrapped up in a blanket. Some children will also have a fear of the dark, even to the point where they are afraid to close their eyes. This is because children who have poor body awareness rely on what they see to know where they are. Children may also have a difficult time mimicking movements such as hand games or licking their lips. Those who have poor body awareness may not know how to mimic the movements with their own body parts. Most clearly, children who have poor body awareness may appear clumsy, as they don’t have a strong control over their body. Keeping an eye out for these signs and realizing the issue is the first step to improving body awareness.

There are plenty other ideas that can be found online to help your child learn about body awareness. Remember, it doesn’t have to be boring or tedious, but this can be a fun process for you and your child.