Did you ever met a child not wanting to swing right away when seeing a swing ? Neither as we, and that’s what caught our attention. Every place designated for kids has one or more swings.
What is happening to all of us is that, while swinging, we experience a full range of sensation, from the calming rhythm of our to and fro movement to the excitement of rapid travel through space and time. These experiences are linked to pre-birth movement in the mother’s womb and the child’s first sensation of gravitational forces.
Twisting and untwisting on the swing has additional benefits.
According to research, the act of spinning stimulates different parts of a child’s brain simultaneously, which promotes the development of interconnected pathways in the brain. These connections are important for learning skills such as spatial awareness, rhythm, balance, muscle control, etc.
- Swinging strengthens your child’s core and helps with the development of balance.
- The rocking motion of swinging stimulates the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that helps you focus.
- Swinging offers help with sensory integration, which is how your brain organizes and interprets information. Sensory Integration provides a foundation for later, more complex learning and behavior.
Swinging stimulates our bodies’ sensory systems, namely our vestibular and proprioceptive systems. Stimulation of the vestibular system through swinging helps us develop and maintain the body’s proprioceptive system, which draws information from our muscles and joints as our bodies move through space. This information is processed by our central nervous system and causes us to react to the stimuli.
Remember, the vestibular system is the most important of the body’s senses. It lets us know if we’re moving, how fast we’re moving, and in which direction we’re headed. A developed vestibular system allows us to navigate our environment with confidence. This is because our brain knows exactly where the body is in relation to other objects.
However, children with a vestibular dysfunction don’t move as confidently. Their body doesn’t know its exact location in space. A great way to strengthen the vestibular system is with a sensory swing.
For toddlers swinging along with other moves like bouncing on the couch or climbing up whatever is available are great for the vestibular system. Even running up and down a grassy slope stimulates the vestibular system, with balance skills more accurately honed with each attempt. Jumping up and down on the trampoline, tipping upside down, spinning around and swinging backward and forward, all move the body through different planes of movement and in response to gravity, helping to develop muscle tone, coordination and posture.
Ask your child to complete a more structured vestibular task, like pencil roll in a straight line, rock balancing on the bottom with knees drawn up six times, then egg roll twice. When jumping on the trampoline, ask your child to jump feet together four times, star jump four times and stop.
In recent years, sensory swings have become a staple sensory integration tool for children with special needs. From increasing attention span, to improving coordination, the benefits of sensory swings are endless. It also helps in anxiety problems and difficulty of sleeping.
If you feel that your child will benefit from a sensory swing, it is important that you talk with your child’s pediatrician first and choose the best one for him.