5 good ways to train coordination during daily life routines
For a child with cerebral palsy, simple everyday movements can be difficult to perform. This is in part because motor coordination is difficult for many people with cerebral palsy.
With the right training and exercises, coordination can be improved significantly. This is not only true for children with cerebral palsy, but for everyone.
It neither has to be difficult nor time-consuming to train coordination.
It shouldn’t be boring for the child, so it is a good idea to have a playful approach to training, to keep the child motivated to do exercises. We have found 5 good ideas for training coordination at home, whenever you have the time.
1. Use the opposite hand
An effective way of training coordination is to practice using the opposite hand in everyday situations. This can be when you brush your teeth, for example. If you are right-handed, use your left hand to brush your teeth instead. And the other way around if you are left-handed. This takes a lot of concentration in the beginning, because you are confusing your brain and forcing it to think the movements in another way. And that is exactly the essence of coordination training: forcing your brain’s movement mechanism out of its comfort zone.
2. Throw a ball while standing on a pillow
If there are two of you, you can train coordination by throwing a ball to each other while standing on a pillow. The pillow creates a soft surface to stand on, which makes it harder to keep your balance. At the same time that you are keeping your balance, you also have to concentrate on throwing a ball, and it can be difficult to coordinate both things. You can start with a flat pillow, and when you get better at it, you can use a pillow with more filling.
3. Walk on dishcloths
If you have a floor with a smooth surface at home, you can also use it as a training tool. Find two dishcloths, or other material you can stand on that can glide easily across the floor. Stand with a foot on each cloth and do skiing movements with your legs, back and forth. This is a difficult exercise, but it is also fun and effective.
4. Talk and walk
It sounds easy, but it can be hard for children with cerebral palsy to walk and talk or listen at the same time. Go for a walk, and help your child to practice conversation during the walk. Talk about something that interests your child, and that he/she wants to tell you, or listen to. If the child stops to talk or listen, urge him/her to keep walking, and continue the conversation. It is simple, and you can do it anywhere.
5. Catch a ball with different hands
If there are two of you, you can throw a ball to each other. Otherwise, you can use the wall to throw a ball against. Catch the ball alternately with your right and left hand. This trains your brain to think differently every time you throw the ball.