Tips and Tricks Tuesdays- Encouraging Squatting

I seem to be a big fan of encouraging squatting 🙂 mostly because it’s a great way to strengthen someone’s thighs, hips, and lower legs.  I also like squatting because most patients both adult and pediatric, typically come in with weak hips. Adults come in with weak hips usually after something from the low back down is hurting or injured, and children aren’t as strong mostly because they haven’t been walking very long and being in a squatting position is challenging to them.   I’ve discussed in a previous post how to increase leg strength, but I wanted to highlight a strategy to work on maintaining a squatting position to build strength and endurance in hip and leg muscles.

For adults we typically make them squat and hold the position, but most of my kiddos under 3 will rarely hold a squat and either plop on the floor or sit on their heels or the dreaded W-sit!  I recommend this activity for anyone who notices that their child will not squat for very long while playing and will always prefer to plop on the floor or sit back on their heels like this–>

The main item I use to  encourage squatting without plopping on the floor, is playing with a deep basket like a laundry basket or box or storage bin.  You can also use a water table or make your own water table.  I place a number of items in the basket to encourage the child to take longer while maintaining a squatting position. Some items I place in baskets:

  • lots of small balls or other small toys to dig through
  • a blanket with any fun items underneath, to encourage them to search under the blanket
  • dry pasta shells or beans (we have these in a kiddie pool in our clinic) that they can dig through
  • water with water toys
  • small items like legos or blocks that require extra concentration to pick up out of the basket
  • or any other fun items your child will be willing to search through a basket for

The key to encourage squatting instead of sitting at a basket is that the basket is tall and deep enough that your child can’t just sit on the floor or kneel at the basket and play with whatever is in the basket.

Here are some examples I was able to google:

A water table is a great standing play activity as it gets warmer. You can buy a water table or create your own using a storage bin and water toys 🙂



Categories: Tips and Tricks Tuesdays

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