Movement and Dancing are Good for Kids- and their Brains
● By Digital Media Director
By: Doniese Wilcox, CFLE, Avera Children's Family Life Education
How many of you have childhood memories of rolling down a hill, hanging upside down, or spinning until you were so dizzy you fell down? Kids love doing these things!
Interestingly, all three types of movement are especially important for learning balance.
Our bodies are made to move, and movement is required for children’s brains to fully develop. Movement will help them achieve good balance, the ability to control and manage their bodies, and a strong sense of equilibrium. Movement and exercise also encourage our brains to release good chemicals that help to naturally reduce stress and regulate mood and behavior. National Day of Dance is a perfect time to turn on some music and get moving.
A Few Safety Considerations:
· Be sure kids have plenty of space.
· Check the area for hard surfaces and tripping hazards.
· Be really careful when kids are spinning.
· If kids are getting dizzy, stay close in case you need to help them regain their balance.
· Always watch your child’s facial expression. If they are not enjoying the activity, stop.
For babies, hold them close and support their heads as you dance to music. As they get older and their neck muscles are more developed, you can increase the intensity by adding rocking, dipping and swishing movements.
When kids are able to dance on their own, encourage a variety of movements: reach arms up high, swing your head back and forth, spin, jump, hop and twirl. Try fast and slow movements—can you spin slowly? Can you jump fast? Try changing height level and dance on your knees or on tip-toe. Freeze dancing is always fun. Dance to the music, then freeze when the music stops. You can even try “dancing” in a chair—hold your child in your lap and gently spin in one direction, then stop and go the other way. If your child is big enough, have him/her sit in the chair while you gently spin it. Again, always make sure your child is enjoying the activity; if not, stop.
Supervise this activity for safety.
Kids love movement, especially the kind that gets a little “wild”. And as long as adults monitor for safety, it’s good for them. You may want to be prepared with a “settle down” activity like playdough, markers, or a story when the dancing is done. You may need it more than the kids!