Why Postural Control is Important?


Have you noticed that some children tend to slouch in their chairs and easily fatigue while doing activities seated at a desk? If so, you are likely looking at a child who has poor core strength, which affects his/her ability to maintain postural control.

Postural control refers to a child’s ability to assume and maintain upright posture while seated without support. A child who has proper postural control can sustain a seated 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/her attention to making sure he/she 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 and push, or sit back to back with linked arms and pull and try to reach 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.

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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.