We've all had clumsy moments: dropping a pen or tripping over a curb once in a while are pretty normal. Maybe you're tired or not paying attention.
But what happens when clumsiness is regular and interferes with life? If you notice that your child struggling with clumsiness nearly every day, it could signal a problem with motor skill development or their proprioception.
Clumsiness may affect arms, legs, and general balance -- but it starts in the brain. Proprioception refers to our body's ability to sense where we are. Receptors in our skin other periphery parts of the body send signals to the brain using our nervous system.
Proprioception helps us understand how we're moving and the ways in which we're taking up space. It helps us balance on one leg or sense the difference between walking on grass versus concrete. We're more likely to bump into things or trip if we're less aware of our position in the surrounding space.
If your child is overly clumsy, it could be that their brain is not properly interpreting messages from their proprioceptors.
What You Can Do
If your child shows signs of poor body awareness (they often bump into things, push too hard, and can't ride a bike), there are things you can do to help them improve their motor skills.
Sensory integration therapies with a professional will help develop a better sense of space and retrain the brain to understand proprioceptor signals. Some activities that might be recommended include: leap frog, punching bags, crab walking, and kicking soccer balls. Just 15 minutes a day of activities aimed at improving proprioception could make a difference!
If your child is having clumsiness issues, it could be that their brain is not receiving the right signals at the right time. While some people may remain clumsier than others through their life, that doesn't mean you can't help your little one get better at sensing their position in space!