With children spending more and more time at home — and the postponement of different group sports and physical activities — encouraging your children to stay active can feel like an uphill battle.
Incorporating stretches into your daily routine is the perfect way to get your children’s blood pumping and keep them active, even at home. Our pediatric chiropractors at Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria know that every child is different in their development and needs. Our chiropractor can provide you with specific stretches that benefit your child, along with these more common stretches that promote flexibility and keep their bones and muscles strong.
Stretches for Children
While stretching isn’t the same as an entire workout, stretching can still provide its own set of benefits to you and your children. Or, if you’re also looking to keep your family active at home, stretching is a great way to begin and end any workout.
Stretching gets their blood pumping, reducing the tension in their muscles, and warming them up for more activity. Muscles that are warmed up also decrease your child’s risk of injury. On top of that, stretching daily increases your child’s range of motion and flexibility!
Have your children try some of these simple stretches at home!
The child’s pose will stretch out your child’s back, thighs, and hip muscles — and give them a space where they can relax and breathe out any extra energy they are holding inside.
For this stretch, have them start on their hands and knees on the floor or a mat. Have them bring their forehead down to the mat and their hips back to their heels, sinking down into the pose. Have them length their arms out in front of them, palms flat on the mat, and extend their neck. Let them rest in that position as long as it feels comfortable, reducing the tension on those muscles.
Hamstrings are the muscles that go from the back of the knee up to the buttocks. When that area is tight or unstretched, after being inactive for a period of time, it can cause your child’s posture to hunch, pulling on the tailbone and leading to lower back strain.
If your child has been in any physical education class, then they’re probably familiar with a hamstring stretch. For this, have them sit on the floor or a mat and bring the sole of their left foot to their inner thigh with their right leg out straight, toes pointed up towards the ceiling. With a straight back, have them bend forward with their right arm and reach for their foot.
Once they’ve stretched as far as they can, have them hold that position for 10–15 seconds. Then have them repeat the same stretch on the other side, bringing the sole of their right foot to their inner thigh.
A shoulder roll or shrug is a great way to loosen up the muscles in the shoulder and around the neck. It also helps remove any stress or tension that your child holds in their shoulders — especially if they usually carry a heavy backpack.
For this stretch, have your child stand up straight with their arms by their sides and feet shoulder-width apart. From that position, have them rotate their shoulder forwards, up towards the ears and around. Have them rotate their shoulders forward a few times before reversing direction.
Like with the shoulder roll, the neck roll will help loosen up around their neck. Pairing this with a shoulder roll is a great way to strengthen their focus and relieve any tension caused by sitting in front of a computer for virtual learning.
Have your child slowly roll their head ear to shoulder, chin to chest, and ear over to the opposite shoulder. When they’re done, have them reverse direction and do a few neck rolls until their neck and shoulders feel loosened.
The butterfly stretch focuses on the inner thigh muscles, hips, and knees and can help strengthen back muscles and improve your child’s posture.
Have your child start in a seated position on the floor. From there, have them bring the soles of their feet together, creating a butterfly shape with their legs, and sit with a tall spine. To get a strong stretch, have your child lean forward, using their elbows to slowly push their knees towards the ground. Have them stretch only as far as is comfortable and hold for 10 to 15 seconds before lifting back up.
Reach for the Stars
This is a fun stretch, especially if your children spend most of their school day sitting in front of a computer! This stretch is also great for them to do between classes or assignments to get their blood pumping before they have to focus again.
Have them stand up and get up on their tippy toes, using their arms to reach up for the stars! This stretches out their arms and legs while also increasing their blood flow, helping improve concentration after hours of virtual learning.
Meet With Our Peoria Pediatric Chiropractor
If your children need a little bit of encouragement, involve the entire family in these stretches! Bringing the whole family together is a great way to keep everyone active and work muscles that might be getting stiff from the new at-home, virtual learning environment.
If your child is experiencing any aches or pains — especially when they try these stretches — have them meet with our pediatric chiropractor at Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria.
Read through some of our previous posts to learn more about how a pediatric chiropractor can help:
- Spine Health — Online Learning and Your Child’s Desk Posture
- 8 Reasons You Should Include Chiropractic Care in Your Regular Health Care
- The Function and Importance of the Lumbar & Sacral Spine
- Children’s Spine Health — The Backpack
- 5 Signs Your Child Should See a Chiropractor
- Children’s Spine Health — Understanding the Impacts of Technology