10 Simple Games to Slow Down Children – and Train the Balance

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Because child loves to do everything fast.

It seems that in the blink of an eye the child passes from the first steps to learning to run. Sometimes we get the impression that they learn to run before they even learn to walk. It is wonderful to see them experiencing this freedom of movement.

Running is good and fun, and that’s the main reason why “fast” is the normal way kids work. But that is not the only reason.

The truth is that for the little ones, “fast” is easier than “slow”. It is that when our body moves fast, the physics of the forward impulse takes care of the work that should be performed by our sense of balance. As we move slowly, we are more dependent on balance to stand firm, steady, and standing. The challenge for the little ones is right there.

The child is not born with the sense of balance formed. The balance is developed in the early years, through the normal process of movement.  Thus, when the child begins to walk erect, the brain and body work double, trying to maintain balance while coordinating complex movements. Of course, this process demands some practice-indeed, years of practice-to perfect the extremely sophisticated act of slow, controlled walking.

© 2015 Photo of Gill Connell used with permission

Why is it important to go slowly?

It is perfectly normal and beneficial for children to move quickly. But it is important, from time to time, to try to slow them down. Going too fast does not allow the brain time to think. On the other hand, moving slowly requires more of the brain, giving it the time it takes to receive, analyze, and store sensory information.  This helps build the brain’s sense of balance, while the movements become more refined. When this happens, the child is on the right path for more deliberate control of his body, even going slower.

So, can your child slow down? Here are 10 suggestions I tested at home and made the kids slow down.

A-do-it-yourself-and … Slow down!

1. CHALLENGE YOUR CHILD TO WALK DOWN. Little ones naturally want to please their parents and show them everything they can. So when your son shoots at full speed, challenge him by saying, “Gee, you’re going really fast! But can you go very slowly, like a turtle? ”


© 2015 Photo of Gill Connell used with permission

2. CHANGE THE MOVEMENT. Whenever you change a usual movement, the child automatically tends to slow down. For example, in the transition from time to time to story time, you can ask your child to walk back to the couch (or wherever you usually read stories). Here are other suggestions: walk sideways, walk on a line on the floor, walk with a cushion over the head etc.

3. TURTLE, TIGER, TREE! To develop a sense of self-control in your child, try alternating speeds. For example, when you say “turtle,” he must walk very, very slowly. When he says “tiger,” he must walk very fast. And when you say “tree,” he must stretch his “branches” (arms) and stand like a tree. At the beginning, issue commands at a predictable rate. As soon as your child gets the hang of it, move to a more random rhythm. Do not forget to change the sequence – so they will have to listen carefully.

4. TRAINING SKILL. Select activities that require dexterity and precise movements. For example, crawl through a tunnel without touching the walls, or carry a ping pong ball in a spoon from one side to the other of the yard or room. (Take advantage of the standardization activities suggested on the blog to practice.)

5. STEPS OF GIANT. The longer you pass, the slower the movement. Ask your child to walk around the room or garden using giant steps. After he has been walking a bit, point him to a path and ask him to count how many steps are required to go through it. On the way back, see if he can make the journey with even fewer steps.

6. TWO IN TWO. Pair two children from back to back, joined by their hands. Challenge them to cross the room or the garden by walking this way. You will not even have to ask: they will automatically move more slowly, as if they combined the movements with each other.

© 2015 Photo of Gill Connell used with permission

7. THE SLEEPY ZOOL. At this zoo are the slowest creatures ever seen! Ask your child to move like a sleepy turtle, a snail, a crab, a sloth, an elephant or a rhino … sleepy. It may even be that he invents a fantastic animal, the important thing is that he is sleepy.

8. TALKING TO DEVOUR. Any activity performed slowly will help your child regulate their movements. Slow speech is a fun way to develop auditory discrimination by combining word-of-speech and “slow-mode” practice. Model your child’s slow speech and encourage him to repeat the words and phrases you say. Have a chat with him this way. You will have a good laugh. (If your child speaks too quickly and embeds the words, here are some tips on how to correct it .)

9. SPEAKING AND WALKING TO DEVOUR. Once your child has practiced speaking slowly, add the challenge of a move to increase the fun. For example, take a trip back to Sleepy Zoo. As the child moves around imitating his favorite sleepy animal, he may describe his movements by speaking slowly. “Eeeeestooooou annnndaaaannnndo coooomo uuuumaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.”


© 2015 Photo of Gill Connell used with permission

10. SLOW MODE … ENABLE! At home or outdoors, play something your child enjoys, but in the “slow mode.” A great game for this is “The master sent”, but the child already needs to know the joke to make it work. In “slow mode,” the game will look different, more challenging, and fun for kids.

Article by Gill Connell and Cheryl Mccarthy translated from English with permission ofMoving Smart