Helping young children with low muscle tone

Trampoline jumping is excellent for an all over body workout as well as balance

I have worked with lots of young children who have low muscle tone with a large amount of success. The success is due to the fact that the parents follow the advice given and provide the opportunities for their children to exercise and be active.

Children with low muscle tone find exercise and physical activity difficult and tiring. These children also tend to have a weak core, and example of this is difficulty in  sitting in a chair for any length of time. It becomes very uncomfortable and they slump onto the desk or lean on their arms  for stability. Going up and down stairs can be difficult without using the rail as a lever, getting up and down from the floor, sitting up, pulling or pushing things is difficult. Often bike riding is impossible due to lack of strength in the legs and training wheels are a must as there is no core strength to use for balance.

The best way to help your child is by giving them access to doing things – and you don’t have to spend money to do it.

Here is a list of a few ideas to get started with to help your child develop strengthen their muscles

These space hoppers are excellent for building core strength as well as for building the legs, both top and bottom. introduce daily activity into their lives – begin with a walk to school
  1. start by trying to walk to school, break into achievable bits to begin with and push your boundaries as you notice your child is coping with it.
  2. invest in a space hopper as above ($5 at Kmart) – they are excellent
  3. find a set of stairs and use them, take it literally a step at a time, try to get them to push up through their feet and not to use the hand rail when going up.
  4. there are lots of fantastic playgrounds, find one with climbing frames, those spiderman webs are fantastic, work up to being able to use the fireman pole to come down.
  5. use a swing, get your child to sit upright and get those legs going forwards and backwards
  6. walk around the house on tip toes, make it into a game, stand by a table for support and raise slowly onto tip toes and go down again
  7. monkey bars are a challenge, but take it a step at a time, kids don’t do much above their heads these days so do a rung at a time with support, as your child gains confidence relax the support.
  8. Buy or borrow a pedal free bike so they use their legs to propel them.
  9. sit on firm soccer balls, sit with bent knees, arms out to the side and extend legs to the front.
  10.  jumping on a trampoline, you could as your child gets more confident add some balls or balloons (if trampoline is fenced) to make it even more fun.
  11. play games that involve short bursts of running, build these up slowly to build muscles and stamina
  12. get your child to help with chores, carrying light groceries, put things away on shelves in front of them, pull open the fridge door, vacuuming is also great for the arms.

Muscles need to be used otherwise they get lazy and children with low muscle tone really find physical activity tough, tiring and will often do anything they can to get out of it, that is why it is best to be tackled as a family so that it is fun and supportive. As you can see from the simple list above, lots of this can easily be incorporated into daily life.

If you would like further ideas, you can call me 0433151795 or email:

Good luck


Sue Cutbill

MExphys AEP

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