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Home > Sensory Processing Disorders > Vestibular Ideas for Infants and Toddlers

Vestibular Ideas for Infants and Toddlers

CENTER OF DEVELOPMENT OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

 

Each child is different and will react differently depending on their mood, environment, and comfort level with the therapist or caregiver.

Always keep trying therapy techniques, never try once or twice and give up, most children need to see something done by another child or someone they love and trust first.  They will watch their emotional response as positive before they will even try a new activity.

Try the following and report back to the OT how it went!

  • Slowly roll the child from one parent to another on the bed, laugh and play peek a boo

  • Gently do flips on the bed or on pillows keeping neck safe 

  • Rock gently on a peanut or elliptical shaped ball that is close the ground, if this is too high, place the child on your extended leg in the floor and play ride the horse games and sing and laugh while they are moving on your leg.

  • Get riding toys such as rocking horses and little cars and riding toys that they can control the movement.

  • Bounce, roll and rock on a therapy or playground ball.

  • Go in stroller rides and do a lot of gentle stop and go movements, and change directions of stroller often, if they are comfortable with this, then move faster and even run pushing the stroller (always be safe and cautious and make sure they are secure!) 

  • Figure eight patterns in dancing, strollers, walking, etc. are fabulous!

  • GYMNASTICS CLASSES ARE WONDERFUL!

  • Run, dance, and play chase while holding the child. If they feel okay with this, then dance with them in your arms and put their head in many different positions such as in a football hold, on their tummy, upside down for a short period, and up on your shoulders. The key is to stimulate the semicircular canals and otolith organs in the middle ear by changing the position of the head often, the more you do this the quicker the insecurities go away!

  • Swinging- starting out with the child in your lap, on a porch swing hung from two points is best, then try them surrounded by pillows on the swing alone, then take away the pillows with a safe distance to them. Do not move suddenly, and keep them as low and secure as possible.

  • Rock in a rocker with the child, then gradually put them in the rocker by themselves, they may need a pillow or blanket tightly securing them at first...gradually move to them being alone on a moving surface.

  • Swing in a safe toddler swing with small movements, put on a video that they like and can watch while they are swinging

  • Swinging in a blanket or hammock

  • Slide play

  • Riding various vehicles - tricycles, bikes, scooters, trampoline jumping SAFELY and ATTENDED please. 

  • Spinning on a tire swing or merry-go-round - monitor as this can be over stimulating.

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