The children who we are often saying ‘be careful’ too are often our kids that have difficulty with motor planning. Either they:
- Are not sure how to move their body (i.e. difficulty planning movement)
- Don’t quite get the movements right when they attempt to move (i.e. carrying out the movement)
- Can’t predict what is going to happen and so just move their body to find out (i.e. difficulty forward planning and anticipating what will happen)
So for these kids we need to give them more feedback about what their body is doing or what needs to happen next. Unfortunately saying ‘be careful’ doesn’t actually tell them what to do, it just lets them know that something isn’t right. Often these kids know that their movements aren’t ‘right’ so are hesitant, don’t want to participate in movement, or just throw their bodies into any situation without really thinking it through.
Here are two ways we can give them feedback about their body to help them work out what to do next…
Putting our hands on the body parts or the place where they need to move. Such as putting a hand on the foot that needs to be moved to the next step on the ladder. Or putting a hand on the elbow to direct the arm where to go. Or putting your hand on the place on the rope that they need to grab hold of.
This is adding more descriptive language to let them know what to do with their body. Some great ones to use are:
- Look at your hands/feet to see where they need to go
- You are close to the edge, hold on to …
- Put your hand … so you don’t fall
- Slow down, take a deep breath
- Pause and tell me what might happen next if you move …
- Hold your arms out to help you balance
- Stop and look where you are, and tell me how you are going to get down