Have you ever wondered how we know if we are standing upright or upside down, even if our eyes are closed? If we are stationary or if we are moving, in which direction and at what speed?
This relationship we have with gravity, which perhaps precedes our relationship with everything, helps us move through space and interact with our surroundings in every possible way, being aware of the hazards and what will be caused by every move. All this, thanks to a sensory system we develop, called the Vestibular System, similar to our other senses, like Auditory or Vision.
Our vestibular system has a huge impact on our physical, emotional, and learning skills. It is the first sensory system to develop in the womb. When the fetus is only 5 months old its vestibular system is amazingly well developed.
The vestibular system provides the growing fetal brain with a whole host of sensory information as the fetus is rocked back and forth by its mother’s movements.
So rocking is part of our days with our little ones, even before they were born. Think of how many times we rock a baby to sleep or just relax. Why is this move so soothing and feels so right? Because it is familiar. Familiar for the child and for us, as we were babies once as well. Even as adults we find rocking chairs so appealing. Imagine what a Rocking Horse or a Rocking Stool seems to a child!
Rocking toys have proven their value through time. Nowadays, we can tell from numerous research how important these moving toys are, for enhancing motor functions and spatial awareness.
We pay so much attention to the development of this Vestibular System because it helps us understand our position in space, from the position in which our head is located.
Children, in the first years of their lives, spend a lot of time developing their relationship with gravity. Security against gravity is so important to their development that they are instinctively constantly experimenting with their vestibular system, testing its limits. They climb to jump from very high, they constantly turn around themselves, bring their bodies into "difficult" positions (vertical, somersaults, etc.).
We encourage children to experiment with the limits of their motor abilities, because in this way they lay a good foundation for the development of many other skills. In any case, however, we should face existing fears and weaknesses with respect for the child and provide the time and attention needed for each individual personality. But why not provide them with the appropriate means to achieve their self-awareness and self-evolving, in the best way possible?