Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Safe Infant Sleep

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by Calgary Youth Physiotherapy No Comments

logo-ahsCalgary Youth Physiotherapy would like to share this document from Alberta Health Services with our clients.  We feel that safe sleep habits are essential to keeping our little ones safe and healthy in the early days!

Download the Document


Updated Hours: Saturdays!

Posted on: August 26th, 2015 by Calgary Youth Physiotherapy No Comments
Calgary Youth Physiotherapy would like to announce that they are now open at the south location on Saturdays throughout the school year (with the exception of holidays periods and statutory holidays).
Hours on Saturdays will be: 9 AM to 1 PM.*
*South clinic only

Mom! I’m bored!

Posted on: August 19th, 2015 by Linette Lahey No Comments
Risky Play - Brainasium

Telus Spark’s Brainasium (Christina Ryan / Calgary Herald)

Calgary Youth Physiotherapy believes that children not only learn through instruction but through movement experience and exposure to environments where play is undirected.

Undirected play experiences lead to more creativity on the child’s part. By playing in less directed environments, children learn to assess situations in their environment, determine options, evaluate risks, and learn to interact with that environment in a playful and safe manner.

Allowing your child to discover ways to interact with a simple ball, sheet, cardboard box, log, hillside, or stick can lead to hours of enjoyment and fun for your child! My kids played outside with an old sheet in the wind for 2 hours, and came back in happy, exhausted, and full of knowledge about the wind, their bodies, and how to play creatively!

Bring the fun back into play! Read about and visit the Telus Spark Brainasium, and then consider how you can improve the “risky play” in your home and community environment.

Gross Motor Skills

Posted on: January 20th, 2015 by Linette Lahey No Comments
  1. What are gross motor skills?
    – The dictionary definition of gross motor skills is as follows: the abilities usually acquired during infancy and early childhood as part of a child’s motor development.
    – Gross movement comes from large muscle groups and whole body movement.
    – This is the opposite of fine motor movement which involves the small muscles of the body that are used in activities such as: grasping, writing, picking up coins, and doing up buttons.
  2. Why are they so important during those growing years?
    – From the time a child is born he or she is beginning to develop motor skills. Lifting the head up, bring the hands together, and playing with feet are all examples of gross motor skill in infants.
    – Alert to parents of infants. Today there is a significant population of infants that develop cranial asymmetry (flatness of one portion of the head, called “plagiocephaly”). They may also develop stiffness in the neck where the baby has difficulty turning his or her head to one side (“torticollis”), and developmental delay or slow development of gross motor skills. Flatness of the head is caused by forces that deform the skull bones when a baby lies for long hours on his back. Importantly, “Back to Sleep” positioning is widely recommended by medical professionals to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is recognized, however, that infants require exposure to other positions such as lying on their tummies and sides, when not asleep and when supervised. This helps to unload the unwanted and asymmetrical forces to the skull that cause flatness as well as encourages strength to core and upper extremity musculature that is required for lifting the head, rolling, and crawling.
    – This is the period in a child’s life when he or she begins to develop many of the gross motor movement skills that are used as building blocks to more advanced motor patterns. This includes: climbing stairs, running, jumping, hopping on one foot, balancing, sliding, throwing, catching, and trike riding. This is the time period in a child’s life when many developmental delays are recognized as a child tends to spend more time with his peers. Development of these basic preschool skills leads to increased overall strength, motor planning, confidence, and ultimately an ability to participate in social and recreational settings.
  3. How can parents help their child develop gross motor skills? (Different kinds of activities)
    – Encourage a variety of positions for your baby during awake periods. Supervised tummy time is especially important in the 0-9month phase of development.
    – Encourage grasping play with objects that require the baby to bring his or her hands together.
    – Motivate the child to move by placing objects just outside of his or her reach.
    – Whenever safe to do so, allow child to play on the floor rather than being confined in car seats or infant swings.
    – Parents should encourage their children to be active and move in fun playful ways such as building obstacle courses and forts, walking like a wheelbarrow, animal walks, catching and kicking balls, skipping, galloping, trike riding, and frequenting park or indoor play areas.
    – If you live in a colder climate provide your preschooler with a large open space free of fragile objects to play in. Equip you room with balls to kick and throw, add mini sticks or light rackets for hand eye coordination. Provide old mattresses or pillows, set on the floor, to jump from and balance on. Make use of any open beams to hang rings, a trapeze, or swing to strengthen the upper body and core. Old sheets are great for making tents and for parachute play. Stuffed animals are great to play with or to throw and catch. Tunnels can be used to build with and to crawl though. Play lots of music as music inspires movement! Not all areas need to be carpeted. Tile, hardwood, or concrete are great for riding toys, wagons, and tricycles. Remember to promote safety. Install any hanging bars, swings, etc. according to directions. Wear a helmet for riding toys and tricycles. Always supervise your child, and join in the fun, during these activities.
    – Other more structured activities that can promote gross motor development include swimming, gymnastics, non-aggressive martial arts, dance lessons, soccer, skating, yoga, and wall climbing.
    – Encourage play dates with other children of similar ages.
    – Limit “screen time” in your household.
    – Parents should also consult a physical therapist knowledgeable in pediatric development, a pediatrician, or their family physician if they have any concerns about their child’s development.
  4. How can parents know if their child is developing normally? (What is normal at each stage?) Children reach gross motor milestones at different rates and therefore we give a range of achievement of motor milestones.
    • Sitting independently 5-8 months
    • Crawling-6-12 months
    • Walking 12-18 monthsBy 2 years of Age, a child should be able to:
    • Go up and down the stairs placing two feet on each step
    • Jump off a step with a two-foot take-off
    • Stand on one foot for 1-3 seconds
    • Kick a large ball
    • Throw a small ball
    • Step over low objectsBy 3 years old, a child should be able to:
    • Start and stop movement on command
    • Climb up stairs placing one foot on each step
    • Jump with both feet
    • Catch a large ball
    • Walk on tip toes
    By 4 years old, a child should be able to:
    • Gallop
    • Ride a tricycle
    • Hop on one foot
    • Avoid obstacles when running
    • Throw a ball 10 feet forward
    • Walk on a 4 inch line on the floor without falling offBy 5 years old, a child should be able to:
    • Stand on one foot for 8-10 seconds
    • Walk on a balance beam forwards
    • Hop 5-6 times on either foot
    • Jump 2-3 feet forward
    • Alternate feet when descending stairsBy 6 years old, a child should be able to:
    • Skip
    • Climb play structures independently
    • Ride a bicycle with training wheels
    • Play hopscotch
    • Catch a small ball with hands from 5 feet
  5. When should parents be concerned?
    – Parents should be concerned if their child is not attaining gross motor skills within the above mentioned guidelines for development.
    – Parents may be concerned if they note their child is lagging behind when involved in pre-school or playgroups with other children of the same age.
    – Concern may occur if a child’s balance or movement patterns pose a safety risk or if a child is losing gross motor skills and/or fatigues rapidly compared to his or her peers.


Article by:
Keltie Wattie PT., MSc.P.T. Physical Therapist, Co-owner Calgary Youth Physiotherapy Ltd.
Linette Lahey PT. BSc.P.T. Physical Therapist, Co-owner Calgary Youth Physiotherapy Ltd.


Originally published in Canadian Family Magazine

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