LIVE Q & A  with  Winta Desta

Recorded January 23 2021


Winta Desta PT, MScPT, HBK

Registered Physiotherapist

Winta Desta is a Physiotherapist, Basketball Coach, and Founder of MayeHealth, a digital health education platform for the Eritrean diaspora. She supports infants, children, youth athletes, and their families by helping them meet their movement-related goals.

[direct email]    [website]

Full Transcript

Recorded January 23 2021


Hi, my name is Winta Desta.

I’m a Registered physio therapist, and a first off want to say, thank you for coming.

So I’m going to hop in and talk about crawling, because I know that was your concern.

When we chatted really briefly in the Facebook group. And then from there, we can sort of just chat about some other things. If other parents join us, if not, if you have any other questions, you can just post them in the chat and then you can continue on from there. Okay. So I’m just gonna, I moved into a room that had more natural lighting than, than the office.

So teensy bit of a different setup than I’m used to, but I know I can do sort of everything that I wanted to show you for crawling.

So I think you said that your kiddo is on hands and knees and sort of just doesn’t know where to go next. (01:04)

Which is a very common thing, because crawling is a very like coordinated movement, right? It requires a lot of step here and then move this while holding this it’s a lot.

So babies are gonna need a little bit of support and being able to learn how to coordinate this properly. And it takes a little bit of time, a little bit of trial and error, for sure. So I’m not a hundred percent sure where your kiddo is at, and you can sort of type this in the chat.

If you want to give me a bit more insight, is your kiddo just in four point and sort of like rocking back and forth or have they also tried some other sort of methods of crawling? So they’re like an army crawl where their tummy is on the floor and they pull their arms and then move that way, or are they pivoting on their stomach?

Are there any other ways that they’re sort of moving on in that tummy time or four point position? And if you can, Jen, I would love if you could type that in the chat, because then I can sort of go into the right direction and not try to teach you much about this. And if you can’t get to, to writing in the chat, then I’ll just start demoing a bunch of different stuff.

So if you’ve, or if, if your kiddos already started to do the rocking, that is fantastic because that is where your baby’s going to start practicing weight shifting. And what that means is your baby is, Oh, perfect. Just got connected when you start. Oh, amazing. Okay.

So he’s already started to coordinate the movement, so that’s awesome. If you started going and you, maybe he’s just doing a few steps are a few steps forward. What we can do is sort of help him and help him get some extra reps by facilitating the movement. So some things with kiddos that are already able to take a few steps, what I like to do with them, hi, Stephanie, we are just chatting about crawling.

If you have anything specific in terms of baby movement that you want to discuss or kids how to keep them active during this time, please write it in the chat. And I would love to get to it in our chat today, but right now we’re going to finish up with our crawling.

So your little kiddo has started to crawl, which is amazing. And what we want to do next is get him to take more and more and more steps. So he’s comfortable going from point a to point B. So things that I like to do for these kiddos is sort of sneak behind them, grab around their thighs and then help them with that movement.

So when your kiddo gets tired and either sort of plops back, or sort of just stops in that position, you can actually help them with that movement now and continue to take some more steps further to what he would be accustomed to at that point in time. The other thing that you would want to do in that stent from that standpoint is when they’re tired, obviously take a little break, but when you start moving their legs forward, you’re going to take one knee forward, one knee forward, and then you’re going to also have to move the arms.

Awesome. It takes a few years and stops and then goes back to sitting position. So, Oh, that’s awesome too, that he’s able to transition back to sitting.

What sort of, if they take a break here and they’re not like ready completely to stop altogether, I’ll like, just stop, maybe rock a little bit, or grab a toy and place a toy in front and then get them to reach for a little bit without actually moving forward. Then once they’re like, okay, I’m sort of good with this break.

Maybe move the toy a little bit further forward. And then with him together, you help coordinate the movement of his legs, move his arm, move his legs, move his arm, move his legs until you’ve reached that toilet. And then maybe once you’ve brought to the toy, again, you take another break. So that might look like, you know, rocking again that might look like reaching, or that might look like, okay, I’m coming all the way back into sitting with him and then taking a break and doing some activities and sitting, and then going back and trying it all over again.

But sort of the biggest thing now that he’s already actually started the movement is sort of to meet him where he’s at, give him a gentle push to keep on going a little bit further, but respecting his, like, I need to take a break.

So he doesn’t get overwhelmed and upset with you trying to push him too much. But he’s definitely sounds like he’s had a fantastic spot and you can just continue to explore it and try to push him to move forward a little bit more.

Do you have any questions about that, Jen? Oh, good. Awesome. Keep on chatting about just general things to consider when you’re working, either with babies, kids, older kids, teens, and developing new movement patterns or skills. And I like to call them sort of my five PS of teaching movements. So now, you know, especially if you have school-aged kiddos, your parent teacher, everything under the sun, and you might be doing things sort of like you haven’t had to do before in terms of like teaching movement skills, things that they would do in phys ed or things that they would just pick up and recess.

And you’re working on teaching a kid how to jump or teaching them how to skate or teaching them, all these other things that maybe would have done, or maybe you wouldn’t have done.

So some things that I like to consider when practicing these new skills, depending on the age of your kiddo, these things may vary a little bit and we’ll talk about that. But like I said, they’re my five PS. So one of the PS is proper communication.

So knowing and understanding your child’s communication skills and, you know, so for a, for a baby, obviously that’s going to be more of a we’re working on hands-on or we’re using toys to demonstrate, and we’re getting them to sort of emulate movements when we’re getting to the toddler age, we’re still sort of using those, but now we can start using sort of two word sentences, three word sentences to sort of help with our explanations and teaching of things.

And then just making sure that even with kids that are older and teams, we’re not getting into sort of like technical terms of how I need to describe things. So like if you’re teaching a kid how to jump, you know, we can’t tell a kid like squat down and, and then jump, right? Like a kid doesn’t understand what a squat means.

So one is one good thing to do is to show, I always like to show and then see, do they have a good enough body aware? And it’s to sort of emulate my movement. And then the other thing is to just take something that they would do already that is similar to that movement and use that to sort of describe it.

So for teaching a kid, how to jump, I’ll say pretend to sit down something they’re very familiar with before you reach the seat. Now pop back up. And that’s a way to sort of work on that skill using age appropriate language. And then you can alter that depending on their age and depending on the skills that they need to learn. So proper communication is super, super important, probably the foundation of teaching, any type of skill.

And then the other piece to that is like, after you’ve demonstrated, after you’ve spoken to them about it is to stop talking and let them try and let them try a couple of times, whether it looks perfect or not, doesn’t matter. And then go back in and give them some more feedback.

So if they’re going through the movement and you know, it doesn’t look great, fine, but when you’re trying to talk over them, when they’re trying to practice, it makes it a bit tricky. So that sort of leads into my second point is aimed for practical, not perfect. So this goes for anything it’s not even just movement related, but especially movement related.

The first time you try something, it is not going to be the way that you intend it to be intended it to be. So like anything you’re going to need practice. And especially for a child, that’s learning something new that sort of foreign that their body hasn’t had to do before. We really need to make sure that we’re just aiming for practical.

They might get one piece of it. And then, you know, the next time you work on it, you add another piece of it. So it’s really just making sure you’re not stressing them out and aiming for perfect. And you’re not stressing yourself out, aiming for perfect. Just aim for practical and take your time to get to sort of what that end goal might look like.

So for the example of jumping, you know, you might just work on the squatting motion, so that looking, bending the knees and that preparatory movement and jumping and not worry about them actually lifting off the ground when they start, because oftentimes that’s a little bit of a scarier thing to do as well. And you just start, start small, start with one part of it and then slowly build the third P and this one’s all is definitely obvious, but it’s practice.

So, you know, and that sort of goes back into the practical and perfect not perfect piece is you’re going to have to get reps up. So for example, January, we’re just chatting about crawling and your kiddo was sort of in that rocking motion for a little bit. And yeah, he needed to practice weight-bearing and weight shifting.

Cause that’s super important for the crawling piece. And now he’s able to crawl, but he’s not crawling all over the place because he still needs to practice and you’re going to have to take reps and let it, let them explore and let them take their time. And this sort of practice time is going to vary from kid to kid. So making sure that we respect a child’s learning experience and not rushing them through it because of whatever external source of stress we might have, whether it’s like, you know, my kid needs to walk now because they need to go to daycare or they’re not going to be able to keep up with their peers.

It’s like, we also have to take into context what our child’s abilities are and move along with them and give them the opportunities to learn and grow, but not put that added pressure on it because it does disrupt the learning process.

So practice, practice that, not for perfect, but for practical and making sure we’re communicating with them properly. Fourth P is patience. And it, like I said, these all sort of tie together, but patients is super important, especially now because one, you as a teacher may not be familiar with how to teach these things. So you have to give yourself a break and realize, you know what, maybe my queuing isn’t that great.

Maybe the things I’m saying, isn’t that great and sort of reflect and take, take it easy from there. And then also give your kids some space, like, you know, maybe they have other things that they’re wanting to do in that moment and, and practicing whatever the skill is, is not that.

So making sure you’re patient throughout this learning process of learning a new skill, it will come unless, you know, there are other underlying factors and those things obviously need to be addressed, whether they, whether they be medical or learning difficulties or whatnot, but patients, patients, patients is super, super, super, super, super important. And then my fifth P and I’m having a brain fart.

So I’m going to look it up because I, I have these down is positivity. Oh, how did I forget this speed? This is the best one, whatever it is that you’re learning to do, you know, even if kids make mistakes because they’re bound to make mistakes because they’re learning something new, making sure that you’re being really encouraging, keeping it light, keeping it playful, reminding them sort of why they want to do this skill, or why do you need to do this skill, but not in, you know, a pressure type of way more in a positive light, like jumping is fun.

That’s why we want to do it. We want to be able to jump, to jump off things, to jump on a trampoline.

It’s a fun thing. It’s not meant to be stressful. And that just sets everybody’s expectations. We are sort of, we’re all on the same page and everyone is in a happy place and it helps with learning. Positivity helps with learning. There’s so much research to back it up. And like I said, it just makes for a better experience for everyone and, you know, to sort of tie into the positivity piece.

And definitely when we’re working with kids, keeping things playful. So this is a bonus P you know, I work with babies all the way up to teens, to competitive athletes in the, the youth sports field and regardless of what their goal is. And regardless of what they’re working for working was a kid or a teen things still need to come back and be playful.

Like they cannot be, they can’t always be like, we need to do this, or you need to get these many reps in, or what have you, because at the end of the day, cognitively, and just like the spirit of being a child gets like pulled away, drained away. If there isn’t anything light or enjoy, there isn’t any enjoyment in the activity that they’re participating in.

So whether it is, you know, with your older kids or adding a fun competition or a game or making things game, like that’s what you do to make it playful, but it doesn’t always have to be like this needs to get done right away. So that’s something that I always make sure to do, even when I’m working with the older kiddos and teens, cause sometimes you lose sight of that going forward.

Or even with the younger kiddos who are struggling with something and sort of like, it seems like this thing needs to be done right now. And there’s a bit more added pressure, like keeping it light. So you know, that that kid or the family or whoever else is involved in this learning process, isn’t, isn’t discouraged to what they’re trying to achieve.

So those are my five PS, you know, Jen and Stephanie, since you are, you guys are hearing you guys get some one-on-one or to a one to two attention. So if there are any other sort of specific questions you have in related to child movements, family activities, based around physical activity, injuries, childhood pain, anything sort of under that sort of blanket of how we move, what impacts our movements, how to stay active and fit, please, please feel free to type any of those questions in the chat, or I’ll just keep on sort of blabbering about physical activity and child movement related things that are sort of specific to the time that we’re in right now.

So I, there is another thing sort of that I really, you know, I’m getting more questions about from my, the families that I work with in clinic and that sort of like how to maintain my child’s like physical activity levels, especially with the families that have more than one child and the child’s are varying. And we’re, you know, the kids were either getting most of their physical activity either in school, through recess and phys ed or through extracurricular activities, which are all sort of, you know, shut down right now.

How do I sort of maintain that balance? And then also from like a self-regulation standpoint, kids who may be struggling with that. So, you know, mostly those younger kiddos, but, you know, that could sort of continue on regardless of age and need that movements to help with that self-regulation piece.

How are we supposed to incorporate that in our days now when you’re juggling virtual school and job, and maybe an infant at home all at the same time. So a couple of suggestions that I’ve been giving to families are: (18:20)

One outdoor.

You need outdoor time. If you can squeeze it in once a day, that’s fantastic. But like for more reasons than just movement, like getting as far away as you can from a screen for a little bit, getting some fresh air, being there with nature, like just for like a mind resets for yourself and for your children.

And I find like getting outside of something that, you know, there’s quite a bit of prep because you need to get kids all bundled up and whatnot, but you can take your infants out in a stroller.

You can take your older kiddos out as well and sort of make it a family activity where we go for this 15 to 20 to 30 to one hour long walk. And you know, what you do outside obviously can vary. So if you are lucky to have some extra space or a backyard that makes things way more accessible and you can really just let your, your older kiddos run around and you can go outside, you know, just for a breather and supervise, or if you don’t and, and just, you know, walks are sort of the more accessible piece, then you’re going walk for a walk around the block.

We’ve been lucky that really it’s still very mild. So any of those sorts of fall friendly activities sort of still apply right now.

So, I mean, we do have a bit of snow now, but like I was still suggesting to families for a little bit doing some like sidewalk chalk activities and doing hopscotch and making obstacle courses because, you know, driveways are so dry for quite a bit of time, but, you know, getting creative, bringing a ball outside, kicking a ball around, like all of those things can still be done because we’ve been under negative 10 temperature for a lot longer than we normally are.

So taking advantage of that, but like one time a day getting outside is like a game changer. Now, in addition to that, you know, the scolded standard of how much physical activity kids should be getting is an, and that might sound crazy because they’re in school all day, then by the time they’re done school, it’s dark. So the biggest thing for that is like doing a little bouts of things. So 10 minute, 10 to 15 minutes breaks.

I know that they get that for whether it be first snack or a movement break. Some schools are still doing phys ed virtually, which is great, but creating those movement breaks throughout your day and doing things either as a family or having structured activities for your older kiddos.

So some things for the older kiddos who can follow along, I would even throw in a YouTube video. And there’s a lot of good YouTube videos that have either yoga or exercise classes that they can follow along that are age appropriate. And just doing that for 10 to 15 minutes, tens of 15 minutes of free play either. You know, I like using a ball kicking balls, throwing balls.

If you have space for that, if you have more than one kiddo of similar ages that even makes things better, cause then you can get them to play sort of those running and walking games like red light green light, or what time is it Mr. Wolf? Or you can engage in those games with your kiddos, even though it’s tiring.

And then animal walks, animal walks and obstacle courses are like a savior for pretty much any situation. So if you feel like your kid is going to sort of like continue to bounce off the walls, throw some animals at them and ask them to move like that animal. And so they get to be a bit creative in that piece. They get to move and move in ways where they’re using their full body.

So if you’re getting a kid to do a frog jump or crab walks, they’re using their arms and their legs and their tiring movements. So that could also really be helpful for sleep once we’re getting, you know, all of those movement breaks in throughout the day and then obstacle courses where, you know, can be a bit, can be a lot.

If your kiddos don’t clean up after themselves quite yet, but can be great if for creativity and wow, my, the sun is moving already can be great for creativity and getting them to be creative and choosing what activities they do. You can use anything around the house, pillows, chairs, broomsticks, and use it in different ways, jumping over things, climbing over things, taking big steps over things.

So those are some things that you can add into your daily movement breaks. And then the biggest thing is trying to build some sort of routine and consistency with that, as difficult as that might look like, but you know that one time of outdoor time and then maybe two other movement breaks a day, whether that’s in those scheduled breaks in their school day or that’s after school or through the weekends, but making sure your kiddos are moving because we know that helps with academic performance and with sleep and self regulation and also, you know, keeps them busy.

And at this point in time, that’s probably everyone’s biggest concern is keeps them busy and keeps their, their mental health in a good place. And then this is something new that I’ve been teaching kiddos how to do.

So, you know, for whatever reason, I’m seeing a kiddo in clinic, sometimes it’s for, you know, post-surgical things or post-injury, and I’ll have to do some soft tissue release, AKA massage. So, you know, I teach parents, you know, sort of what I’m doing so they can replicate it on their children at home. But I’ve also now been teaching kiddos how to give their parents sort of neck and shoulder massage.

They’re not great by any means, but it’s sort of a time where kids know, like this is a time to be relaxing and they’re going to help their parents. So if you have kiddos who are between like the age of three to eight, nine, 10, who are like really eager to support and help teaching them how to give a massage is sort of, like I said, it might not be a quality massage.

Maybe with those older kiddos, there’ll be able to give you enough pressure and coordinate it well enough, but it can get them to sort of focus in and relax for five to 10 minutes. If you need that sort of like quiet, just say, Hey guys, it’s massage time. I’ll give you a massage.

And now you’re going to give me a massage. And I’ve, I’ve gotten some, some decent feedback on that. So I think that’s sort of my new gym, my new little clinical Pearl that I’m sharing with families. So they can get a little bit of quiet time during their, during their days. So Stephanie, it looks like you’re, you’re the last one here.

Do you have any questions about sort of my ramblings and keeping kids active and how to teach sort of movement skills with your kiddos and teens? Do you have anything, you know, along those lines or along the other things that I sort of listed out that you want me to cover in more detail? Yes. And you can just post it in the track.

I realized that I know that I do this a lot, that I just turn things on and I just listen. So I feel like you maybe doing that, which totally fine. But if there isn’t anything pressing and because it’s just the two of us, I rather just, you know, take this time to, you know, answer any of your specific questions.

Cause you can sort of cultivate this to you. If you have any questions, road, guarding kids, movement injuries, motor developments, Anything, All right, Stephanie, I’m going to stop rambling then because I could ramble for the whole time for a whole hour. But if not, I will actually just plop my contact info here. Cause I don’t know if you’re coming from the parent playbook group or if you know our member of the public who, who heard about this, I’ll just leave my, my email in the chat and you can sort of screenshot it.

And if you have any questions you can just Great. So I’m going to say farewell. I hope to see you guys next month we do these talks once a month. And you know, I sort of sort of do a refresher of these topics plus any sort of movement skill, better specific parent and child are working on and sort of go through those and I’ll do demos and stuff as well.

So, you know, if you do have any questions about Stephanie, you’d want to see how it’s done and not just here. I will show you as well. So please tune in next month. I’ll be back. Alrighty, have a great enjoy the rest of your weekend.


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