Anyone who's a music fan is familiar with the old Waylon Jennings song, Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys. It's a classic and one that, whether you're a country music fan or not, you can at least hum along to even if you don't know the lyrics. If you're unfamiliar with Waylon's song, it talks of the hazards of the cowboy life. Moms who are reading this right now, take heed: cowboys "never stay home, and they're always alone. Even with someone they love." They like "smokey old pool rooms" and "girls of the night." Why encourage your boys to adapt that lifestyle? Instead, the song suggests that you make your young boys "be doctors and lawyers, and such." We'd all be much happier if they chose those occupations, and so would your sons, and so would you.
And, for the record, I'm glad that song is stuck in your head now!
Nothing like a little country music to make your day better!
Today I want to give warning to that same group of mothers, many of them first-time moms, who are ecstatic that their little "cowboy" is starting to pull up on the furniture and cruise down the front of the couch. Forget the fact that Junior is only eight months old and hasn't crawled much (or, at all). You applaud him, you video him, and you Skype in Grandma and Grandpa to witness this historic event, reinforcing to little Junior that what he's doing is a great thing!
Except, in my opinion, it's not a great thing at all. It's actually one of the worst things you can let him do. Yet, in all of your new-parent excitement, you can't contain yourself. It's natural to get excited about Junior's first steps. After all, this whole parenting thing is new. It's exciting. But, you need to let Mother Nature do her job. There's a very important, dare I say vital, sequence of events that needs to take place.
You see, when your child starts to transition into the crawling stage, amazing things happen. They begin to develop proper hip function, proper abdominal engagement, and proper shoulder stability. They also begin to learn the incredibly important cross-crawling pattern, one that will benefit them greatly when it's actually time to start walking. As they move into the horizontal load-bearing phase of development, their entire spine is engaged! That's why it's crucial that you do not bypass this stage! By allowing them to crawl, you're giving their body a chance to get the functional stimuli it so desperately needs.
When all three of my boys were in the crawling stage, I made sure they didn't walk too soon. In fact, every time they would try to pull up on something I would place my hand on their back and gently redirect them to the floor! My wife thought it was odd when I first did it, but once I explained that I was actually doing it for their long-term benefit, she was all-in. I knew that if they walked too soon, they might suffer down the road.
So, I have a suggestion: For those of you who have little ones past the crawling stage, or if your little one is dead-set on walking early, get down and crawl with them! It will either get them crawling again, or it will encourage them to continue crawling! After all, their desire to walk comes from seeing you walking. To combat it, get down on their level and make a game out of it! Crawl down the hall, under the dining room table, bear crawl upstairs. Let your imagination take control. You just might find that your function improves and your pain starts to disappear!
In addition, you can also help take your baby through the following e-cises:
Sets - 2
Reps - 10
- Lie your baby on his back with both legs stretched out and arms resting beside his body.
- Simultaneously, raise one arm over his head and bring the opposite leg toward his chest, bending it at the knee as you lift.
- Return the arm and leg to the floor.
- Switch sides, and do 10 reps on each side.
Sets - 2
Reps - 5
- Lie your baby on his stomach with his arms outstretched.
- Place one of your arms under his arms and the other arm under his legs.
- Simultaneously lift your baby's arms/hands and legs/feet up about four inches off the floor.
- Hole for five seconds before returning his arms and legs to the floor.
So, mamas...please don't let your babies walk too soon. Keep them crawling for as long as possible! And, while you're at it, don't let them grow up to be cowboys, either.
If you have questions about your child, don't hesitate to contact us now!
QUESTION: How long did your child crawl before they started walking?
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This article originally appeared on Sonima.com and is written by Pete Egoscue
Too many of our pre-teens today are physically compromised. The most obvious manifestation is down at the feet. Watch any ten, eleven or twelve-year-old walk, and you’ll notice that most of them do so with their feet pointing out. You don’t even have to watch them walk. If a junior high student is standing still, chances are his or her feet are pointing out. We call that everted feet. I’ve already written about that subject here, but now I want to address how it happens to children at such a young age and what you can do about it.
From the moment we’re born, movement is integral to our development. Crawling, walking, running, climbing—all these activities and many more are key to the growth of our muscles, our bones, our internal organs, everything. The more naturally our movement is allowed to develop, the more likely we will avoid physical compromises. Take, for instance, crawling.
Crawling isn’t just something we do in order to cope until we can walk. Crawling is something we do in order to develop the body we need to walk properly. Babies are born with flat feet, and crawling is instrumental to developing arches. With those arches, we are able to walk with a proper foot-striking action of heel, balls of feet, toes. Without those arches, we end up walking in a compromised manner that leads to future dysfunction and pain. Anyone with planter fasciitis will tell you just how much life without proper arches hurts.
But it’s not just about the arches. In general, we are too eager to get our kids walking. Many believe that walking is a sign of progress, a sign of intelligence, a sign of advancement in their children. It’s simply not true, but since so many parents believe it is, they encourage walking prematurely in many ways, not least of which is buying their children shoes with hard soles to give them support. But in so doing, they’ve interrupted the metabolic processes of growth.
Walking requires many motor skills, chief among them balance and a proper heel, ball, toe foot strike, which is possible with arches. When parents put hard-soled shoes on their children too soon, they render the proper foot strike unnecessary; kids now have a platform with which to push off, and further development of the arches is impossible. In addition, since proper foot striking is no longer necessary to walk, balance becomes the main issue a toddler must confront. How best to keep balance on shaky legs? Turn those feet out. Thus, those hard soles pave the way for our children to learn how to walk with their feet pointed out, and by the time they’re ten or eleven, those feet have been pointing out for a long time. Which has subsequently taught the knees to respond in a compromised fashion, subsequently leading the hips to respond with their own compromise.
So what can we do? Well, a few things.
First, get your youngsters crawling again. Seriously. Whether they’re seven and eight or 11 and 12, get their shoes off and get them back down on the ground. It will probably be easier with the younger ones because you can trick them into getting down with some games that involve crawling, bear crawling, whatever. The constant act of getting up and down will also help, and you can certainly devise ways to get your kids to do that. The older kids might be a little tougher although getting kids to frolic like kids again is a good thing and might be easier than you think. You might take the honest approach, too, by showing them how their feet are everted and telling them that bear crawls and crawling can help correct it.
Another great way to remedy physical compromise is simply get children doing whatever they’re not doing. If they don’t usually climb a tree, get them to climb a tree. (In fact, anything off the ground is good—monkey bars, jungle gyms, whatever. It engages a range of muscles often under-utilized on the ground.) If they play a lot of baseball, take them swimming. In general, too much of any one thing is bad for the development of our children. Every professional athlete I have known, as well as every high-level coach and trainer, agrees that specializing in one sport at a young age is a foolish mistake.
But it’s not just sports. Years ago, I had some parents call me because their eleven-year-old son suffered terrible headaches. The child was a piano prodigy, so when I visited him, I naturally joined him on the piano bench. He showed me how, when he had to reach with his left hand, he couldn’t play as effectively. I wasn’t schooled in music enough to hear any difference, but I could see a difference in his body when he struck the keys in front of him compared to when he struck the keys to his distant left. I told him to get up and follow me outside. His father was an avid softball player, so I had the son play softball with me. I had him hit while I pitched; I had him throw me the ball with his right hand then throw with his left. In other words, I got him to engage a bunch of new muscles. When we returned to his piano bench forty-five minutes later, he was amazed to see that when he had to reach left to play, there was no difficulty.
That’s the amazing thing about the body. It is always ready, even eager, to return to an uncompromised posture, and the younger the body and therefore less entrenched the development, the quicker and easier it will respond to corrective measures. But the sooner you tend to your children, the better. For compromised posture untreated only gets compounded with time, and that has led to the epidemic in today’s teens of surgeries, headaches, and an untold number of premature physical maladies.
No, parents, those teenagers’ shoulders aren’t hunched because of texting. But I’ll address that in a separate article.
Known as the Father of Postural Therapy, Pete Egoscue has helped relieve thousands of people from their chronic pain, including many of the world’s leading athletes.
QUESTION: Would you consider your children active? Are they involved in multiple activities?