By physiotherapist Hannah Harboe
The sheer joy of doing something for the first time is a fantastic feeling everyone will recognize. For children, the feeling is often associated with motor skills; learning to crawl, walk, clap hands, tie shoe laces, etc.
When we observe a child as he or she learns something new, the joy of succeeding in the endeavours is visible and tangible. We share the child's joy over his or her new conquest. We praise the child for his or her efforts and respond to their pleasure and enthusiasm. Some children find it difficult to make such new conquests. While success brings more success, a child is easily disheartened by failure. A single failure may set off a negative spiral, in which the child loses faith in his or her own abilities and capacity to learn.
Children who have experienced failure may be introverted and easily becom upset and hesitant to take part in activities that are new to them. If not encouraged to break the negative spiral, the child's lack of confidence can develop into low self-esteem. The child forms a self-image as "the one who can't and won't do things.
For many children, learning to roll on a Roller is a major challenge. From the outset, standing and walking on a Roller appears to require a great deal of training.
In fact, the vast majority of children who have no handicaps can learn to move on a Roller without support after only about 30 minutes of training. Roller is therefore the obvious choice if you want a child to experience mastery and boost his or her self-confidence. The child's self-image may change from "I am useless" to "I can train and master something difficult".
The parents of seven year old Christina contacted me, because Christina had withdrawn from social contexts outside the home. She only made play dates at home. At school, she never raised her hand in class and she was afraid that the teacher would ask her a question.
At home, she threw tantrums and cried when she did homework with her parents. Even before the books were removed from her satchel, she said she could not do it.
Christina‘s negative expectations and response to the challenges she was asked to face had become burdensome. The negative spiral affected her general health and well-being. She slept badly, picked at her food and refused to play and interact with classmates.
For many children, learning to roll on a Roller is a major challenge. From the outset, standing and walking on a Roller appears to require a great deal of training. The Roller is a beautiful new conceptualisation of a fundamentally challenging motor activity object. Leave it out, and you will see both children and grown-ups tempted to test their skills by stepping up and trying to set the Roller in motion.