Anxiety Antidote: Movement
The past few weeks I’ve seen repeated online posts and requests for therapists to work with returning elementary school aged children. Anxiety is usually the presenting problem.
Kids thrive in a consistent, structured environment where they know what to expect. Such an environment helps make the child comfortable and content so their brain can concentrate on learning. Unfortunately, we are still living in a world of unknowns, where we’re not able to provide our kids with solid answers when it comes to their schooling.
Teachers report many students are finding it difficult to pay attention, struggling with simple reading and math exercises and are also showing behavioral issues. These challenges can certainly be attributed to anxiety; as stress hormone levels rise, the fight or flight reflex frequently activates, making it nearly impossible to pay attention, follow a sequence of directions, or behave logically.
Talk therapy helps and if a therapeutic movement component is added, change occurs not just in thought patterns, but also on a neuro-physiological level.
Movement is a child’s first language, the biggest developer of the neurological system and vital to academic, social, and emotional success. All learning is based on motor skills – the ability to sit still and focus is based on a strong physical foundation that includes secure balance and age-appropriate posture skills. Sequencing, which is necessary for reading and math is learned first, through an infant’s repetition of specific movements over time. Behavioral issues can often be the result of low self-esteem when children don’t feel confident in the classroom.
Our kids had very limited movement opportunities over the past 18 months. Additionally, many children spent countless hours in front of a computer screen throughout those months, diminishing focus skills and intensifying the expectation for immediate gratification.
Specialized Movement Programs for anxious children focus on the motor development components of their anxiety. Working with specific exercises and motor patterns to develop secure balance, inhibit the body’s Fight or Flight reflex, and stimulate sequencing skills, we help kids develop the physical skills that enable the brain to take in and process information in a logical way.
Children need to move. Movement classes and groups help children:
Develop a strong foundation both physically and neurologically
Develop age-appropriate social skills
Understand their individual importance
Understand their importance as a member of something larger than themselves
Add a specialized movement component to your child’s weekly schedule and witness for yourself the positive power of movement!