We know that working out and eating more nutritious meals can make us healthier, but if your child isn’t seeing the results you had hoped for, you might want to make some additional efforts. Incorporating small changes in your child’s daily regimen can greatly improve their health over time. Here are 5 everyday activities that improve health in children with special needs:
Physical Play Time
When your child gets home from school, daycare or day hab, the first thing they probably want to do is sit down and watch TV or play video games. And, honestly, who doesn’t want that? A little screen time is OK, but you’ll see more positive changes in your child’s health when you incorporate more physical play into their daily routines.
Here are some ideas for games you can play together:
- Tag (Variations: Army crawl tag, rolling tag, etc.)
- Jumping Contests (Who can jump the highest? Farthest? Most?)
- Balancing (Who can balance the longest?)
- Dance Party (Jam out to your favorite songs!)
You’re probably already changing up your child’s meals to include healthier options, but what about their snacks? Children with special needs tend to fixate on certain snacks, and sometimes those snacks aren’t the best choices for them (for example, chips, candies, dessert snacks, etc.).
If your child really loves sweet snacks, try transitioning them into fruit snacks, and then from there, try moving them to real fruit. (Sometimes if the change is too sudden, it can be really hard for those with special needs. A slow transition should work better!) If they like savory snacks like chips, try getting them to eat nuts or trail mix instead!
Squatting, Rather Than Bending Over
Bending over to pick something up can be hard on your child’s back, but it can also throw off their balance. Balance is a tough thing to grasp for those with special needs, generally speaking, but encouraging them to squat when they want to pick something up, instead of bending over, can strengthen their thigh muscles and improve their balance over time.
Walking in Silly Ways
The smallest change can become a game. Change up your child’s routine by acting a little silly with them. Encourage them to walk sideways or backward by modeling it for them. Moving into different orientations can make cardio more fun and improve balance.
Tickle Fights in the Morning
Depending on your child’s temperament, a morning tickle fight might be just the thing to get them out of bed and excited for the day. What’s more, being tickled gets them wiggling and gets their ab muscles engaged. This is a fun exercise and bonding activity for you both!
At Special Strong, all of our personal trainers are licensed to teach our exclusive CBSE Training Model. This is a unique fitness model for those with special needs that not only focuses on weight loss and better nutrition but also balance, strength, endurance and brain health. We’re passionate about working with children and adults with special needs and making fitness accessible to all. If you’re ready to take your child’s health to the next level, then sign them up for private training sessions or local boot camps with Special Strong.
Special Strong provides fitness and nutrition for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs fitness certification courses for personal trainers and service providers who want to work autism and other disabilities.