How can I improve my child's muscle tone?

The answer is simple: implement a strength, flexibility and endurance training program

In the article entitled "My child has been given a diagnosis of low muscle tone. What does this mean?" I argued that that joint hypermobility with associated muscle weakness and paradoxically some tight muscles  is the underlying cause of the child's poor posture and poor performance on task that require effort and good muscle strength. The joint hypermobility is related to increased give in the connective tissue that  gives joint and muscles their inherent stiffness. 

This means that the way deal with the low muscle tone is the strengthen the muscles and increase stamina and endurance. 

Strengthening exercises address the root of the problem: strength training changes the structure of the connective in the joints muscles and associated fascia. It also changes the structure of the giant muscle protein titin which give the muscle its firmness. 

Strong muscles always have good muscle tone.  

Fitness training has many advantages and addresses many of the attention, avoidance and self-regulation difficulties children with joint hypermobility/low muscle tone have. 

So where do I start? 

The first step is to make the shift from "Oh my gosh!" to "Lets get moving" 

Parents who are told that their children have "low muscle tone" often feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what the future holds. There seem to be so many problems and issues and the a great deal of confusing and contradictory information available on the Google Encyclopedia. 

But here is the good news. Research has shown that no matter what the underlying reasons may be for a child's movement problems, the only really effective way to improve a child's everyday home, school and playground function and participation is task based training which addresses all aspects of task performance: attention, strength and flexibility, coordination and motor learning. 

Second step: Identify your child's strengths, weaknesses and goals

A good way to start identifying your child's abilities and strengths, as well as the tasks that are causing difficulties, is to think about all the tasks and activities encountered in a routine day.

The Goals for Everyday Tasks and Activities Checklist is a list of goal statements that cover the common daily activities. A good goal statement describes what a child should be able to do and how well and under what circumstances they can perform the activity. 

Use the list to identify goals you would like to work on with your child. 

Why is it very important to identify your child's strength and weaknesses? 

► Because you will realize that your child has more strengths than weaknesses.

► Because it allows you, as parent, to make an important mental shift from:

“There is something fundamentally wrong with my child” to a more positive sense of   "There are some things my child cannot do today – but with some training these difficulties can be overcome “.

Get help designing your child's exercise program 

The SfA Fitness and Coordination Training Guide 

Full instructions for selecting and adapting exercises for training flexibility, strength and coordination

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The 15-minutes-a-day-challenge

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