What Are the Benefits of Movement Therapy for Children?

B. Miller

There are a number of benefits of movement therapy for children. Though it is often specifically recommended for children with autism, developmental issues, or other specific medical needs, it can be beneficial for all children regardless of needed. In addition to the physical benefits of movement therapy, which help to improve coordination and overall physical ability, it also helps to boost self-esteem and self-confidence in children. Movement therapy for children also helps to improve communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, and teaches children how to control their impulses. For children struggling with temper outbursts, this can be a valuable tool.

Movement therapy may help children reduce the amount of temper tantrums experienced.
Movement therapy may help children reduce the amount of temper tantrums experienced.

Movement therapy for children is just one of many alternative therapies used in many different settings; typically, movement therapy is a type of dance therapy that is fairly unstructured. Music or art therapy are other examples that are similar. For children who have trouble expressing themselves, are uncomfortable talking to a therapist, or are working to overcome certain special challenges in life, movement therapy can be one of the many methods used to help. Certified and licensed dance or movement therapists should be the only ones offering movement therapy for children; a child psychologist can provide a reference.

Similar to finger painting, movement therapy can help improve a child's fine motor skills.
Similar to finger painting, movement therapy can help improve a child's fine motor skills.

The immediate physical benefits are some of the most often cited aspects of movement therapy for children. This type of therapy is used for both able-bodied and disabled children, to increase strength and coordination. It can also improve fine motor skills. In addition to the physical benefits, it can also help children to feel more confident about themselves, and to display higher levels of self-esteem. Through the movement therapy, their self-awareness tends to increase, which can lead to a number of other benefits in relation to social skills and language.

Movement therapy may help improve a child's coordination skills.
Movement therapy may help improve a child's coordination skills.

Through the movement therapy, children can learn how better to express themselves and communicate with family members and peers. This can cut down on the amount of temper tantrums or fights that occur, if this is a problem with certain children or in family dynamics. For children with autism, the benefits of movement therapy can be even greater, as these children may find it difficult or even impossible to communicate with those around them; through movement and dance, however, they can express themselves and receive positive feedback from those around them.

Therapy for toddlers and young children often involves toys and games.
Therapy for toddlers and young children often involves toys and games.

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