Signs of Poor Core Strength in Kids

Sep 22, 2018 | 0 comments

Updated: April 24, 2024

Importance of Core Strength in Kids and Toddlers:

kids playing in a field with a ball developing core strengthAs we all know, core strength involves the muscles of the abdomen. But did you know that it also includes muscles such as within the lower back, shoulders, and stomach?

Core strength is a very important building block to the development of motor skills for children, from simple tummy time to more complex motor skills for walking and jumping.

Having a stable base of support improves the ability to use the hands for fine motor tasks, such as writing or cutting. It is also important for attention skills; if a child has weak core muscles, they will have difficulty maintaining an upright posture and spend lots of time adapting their body position to compensate, impacting on their ability to attend to tasks.


 Signs of weaker core muscles in childrenchild slumped over reading displaying poor core strength in Parramatta

Weak core muscles can manifest through several indicators, impacting posture, stability, and motor skills. Here are some of the signs you can watch for to show your child may be struggling with developing core strength:

  • Slumped or slouched posture
  • W-sitting position
  • Frequently changing body positions or difficulty sitting still
  • Hold their head up with their hand
  • Poor attention skills
  • Difficulty with fine motor tasks, such as holding a pencil or doing up buttons
  • Difficulty with gross motor activities or frequently losing their balance e.g. on a balance beam or riding a bike


Activity ideas for home or school in developing core strength in children:

Luckily, there are lots of fun and easy ways to enhance core muscles for kids! Here are some of our favourite ideas for at home or school:

  • Change the position that activities are completed
    • Lying on stomach propped up on elbows e.g. when playing a board game or completing homework
    • Tall kneel position e.g. completing worksheets against the wall or throwing and catching
    • Lying on back propped up on elbows e.g. to kick a ball or watch TV
  • Sit on a therapy ball or wobble stool when at a table
  • Superman position (lying on stomach with arms and legs raised off the ground)
  • Tabletop or bridge position e.g. see how many toys can be placed on stomach before collapsing
  • Wheelbarrow walking
  • Animal walks, such as crab, bear and snakey slides
  • Encourage correct seating posture at the desk, including feet flat on the floor and chair tucked in
  • Playing at the park e.g. monkey bars and climbing
  • External sports, such as swimming, rock climbing or gymnastics

children playing on monkey bars in park in parramatta

Working with an OT in Parramatta to Develop Core Strength in Kids and Toddlers

If you think your child or toddler may be struggling with developing core strength, try out some of the exercises suggested above. We provide one-on-one and group occupational therapy sessions in Parramatta if you think your child may benefit from additional or professional attention. Contact us to find out more!