Why Postural Control is Important


Have you ever seen those kids that cannot seem to sit upright? They tend to slouch in their chairs and easily fatigue while doing activities seated at a desk? You are looking at a child that has poor core strength, which affects his ability to maintain postural control. What is postural control? And why is it so important for our developing youngsters?

Postural control refers to a child’s ability to assume and maintain upright posture while seated without support. This child can sustain a seated table top activity for a reasonable amount of time in this position without fatigue. Postural control is important because it provides a basis of support which allows the arms and legs to move smoothly. A child who has difficulty sitting with good posture will struggle to write, complete crafts, or do any table-top activities that require fine motor precision as the child will need to put all of his attention to making sure he will not fall off the chair!

Classic signs of Poor Postural Control Include:

  • Sitting on a chair in slouched position
  • Leaning far onto table top to gain support while sitting
  • Frequent falls while seated
  • Difficulty on playground equipment such as slides, poles, see saws, and swings
  • Walking with wide base of support and sitting in W-sit wide position
  • Fearful of rough and tumble play


Activities to improve Postural Control:

  • Playing games like toss and catch in “High Knees” position which is like kneeling with bottom up and hips and knees straight.
  • Wheelbarrow walks are a great way to improve core strength, measure how far you can go! Another fun way to play is to throw a Frisbee and then wheelbarrow to it! Throw it 3-4 times and decide which one was the farthest away.
  • Stretch out while laying child on his/her tummy try to lift arms and legs off the floor with hands facing forward and palms down, pretend you are an airplane!
  • Roll into a ball while laying child on his/her back cross hands over chest and bring knees to chest while lifting head; be sure not to use hands to hold up knees.
  • Play pushing feet with peers, while sitting and facing each other place feet against friends’ feet holding hands and pushing, or sit back to back with linked arms and pull. Try to get to a standing position.
  • Encourage your child to try new equipment at the playground, swings, monkey bars, slides and poles are all activities that increase core strength which then helps improve postural control.

For more activities that improve Postural Control, view Therapy Street for Kids.

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About the Author: The Therapy Spot
The Therapy Spot of Baltimore is a multi-disciplinary pediatric therapy center, featuring an energetic group of experienced and qualified therapists. We provide speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy to children in the greater Baltimore region.