core strength

How To Support Your Child’s Core Strength Development Every Day

Back in the olden days, my parents had to walk to school 2 miles each way. Barefoot. Uphill. And they had to walk home for lunch, too.   Motor skill development wasn’t such a problem back then.

As a child, I never questioned how it was possible that it was uphill both ways, but now I get the feeling they may have been exaggerating.  Just a bit.

In today’s day and age, kids hardly ever walk to school.  Or anywhere, for that matter.  Even the ones who live down the block get dropped off by parents on their way to work.  I can see how this is easier during the morning rush and safer than letting your child wander the streets alone.  But kids need exercise.  And the truth is, there are easy ways to make sure you are supporting your child’s health and gross motor skill development every single day. Continue reading

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fine motor Scissors

Fine Motor Skills and Cutting

Learn how to improve your child’s cutting skills with these simple tips from a pediatric OT.   *This post contains affiliate links

How to Improve Your Child’s Cutting Skills 

“Cutting?”   The mom looked at me nervously…. “Um, I’ve never given my child scissors…. I don’t want him to hurt himself….”   Her face turned red.   “Should I?!”

The poor mom was panicking as she asked me about kindergarten.  She was totally nervous that her son wouldn’t be able to keep up.  Trying to reassure her, I asked how he holds his pencil and how were his cutting skills.  And instead of making her feel better, I made it way worse!   Uh-oh.

(This happens all the time, by the way.  Moms don’t realize that kids should be cutting WAY before Kindergarten. But really – if you are worried that your kid will hurt themselves when they are sitting with you in the kitchen, do you really want them learning how to cut while the teacher is also supervising 20 other kids? )

Nah – better to get them started before school so they know what they are doing.  It gives them a “leg up” on the rest of the kids.    You can always give them those little safety scissors if you are worried that they will cut themselves.   Or the playdoh scissors, which don’t have real blades.

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Best Travel Games for Family Fun

 

The car is packed, the best vacation of your life is just a few hours away. Now all you have to do is get there.  So what’s the problem?  THE DREADED CAR RIDE! 

Picture your kids in the backseat, smiling and laughing, joking and taking turns.  Ahhh. That’s how all family road trips are, right?  Sure.  

“Are we there yet?”

“Mom, he hit me!” 

“What’s that smell!?” 

“Stop looking at me!”

Sound familiar?  Yes.  So what do you do?  Of course there is always the option of throwing on a movie, but does that really go along with the quality family time theme you imagined for this trip?  No.

Will it make happy childhood memories that your child will treasure for years to come? No.

But there is hope: Travel Games.   If you recently read my post about pocket-book sized toys, you know that I’m a huge advocate of getting kids to do hands-on learning activities in any way you can.

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Bluebee Pal

Bluebee Pals – for children who love to learn, play, and interact!

 

What should a parent do when their child isn’t interested in reading?

What if they aren’t prepared for kindergarten?

Will they ever learn their letters?

I just found the perfect solution to the disinterested child. A Bluebee Pal.

As an OT and a newly certified Assistive Technology provider, I am always looking for fun ways to incorporate interactive technology into to my sessions.  I often recommend educational apps and games to parents to help with follow through at home. Let’s face it: Kids love technology.    It’s important for them to still manipulate and play with toys, games, and puzzles, but a tablet or cell phone can be used in any location to work on almost any goal.

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“Get Dressed!” How to modify your child’s dressing routine

 

“Get Dressed!”  How to Modify Your Child’s Dressing Routine  is part of a year-long blog hop called Functional Skills for Kids.  Each month, I will be working with other pediatric OTs and PTs to post on different developmental topics that impact functional skills for kids. I’m so honored to be working with some amazing pediatric bloggers to bring you a well-rounded blog hop that will ultimately result in a BOOK!

*This post contains affiliate links

This series will be a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, and therapists to learn about all the different activities a child performs each day.  Every month, each therapist will discuss different aspects of functional skills.  Each childhood function will be broken down into developmental timelines, fine motor considerations, gross motor considerations, sensory considerations, visual perceptual considerations, accommodations and modifications, activity ideas, and more.

April’s topic in the  “Functional Skills for Kids” blog hop is DRESSING, so check out the landing page for the rest of our posts and information on all things related to “Getting Dressed!”

#functionforkids

WHEN SHOULD A CHILD LEARN HOW TO GET DRESSED?

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10 Pet Peeves of a School-Based OT

Learn 10 pet peeves of a school based Occupational Therapist

10 Pet Peeves of a school-based Occupational Therapist

In the spirit of teaching the general public about OT, I’ve decided to share some of my “O.T. pet peeves”.  The teachers that I work with know me pretty well.  As a true Sagittarius,  I am a very easy going person, but some things drive me nuts! (Yes I believe in that stuff)

My pet peeves are all with good reason, I swear! Over the years, I’ve managed to rub my “O.T. ways” off on many of them.  Here are my pet peeves with explanations:

CUT THE CLUTTER

1) Over decorated classrooms –  A classroom with too much stuff going on can be really distracting for kids with attention issues.  Too much clutter, every wall covered, things hanging from the ceiling, desks covered with pictures and visual cues, etc.  Children who are easily overstimulated get distracted by all of these things.

Teachers wonder why so many kids have such poor attention – maybe all the clutter is what is distracting them?  Also, when children are trying to copy from the board, they need to change the position of their head (as well as their visual gaze) from looking at a vertical surface (board) to a horizontal surface (notebook). Think of all of the visual distractions in the path from the board to the notebook.  No wonder they have difficulty copying!

Check out my video with tips for “copying from the board” here.

This post contains affiliate links.

2)  Gluesticks – The teachers that I work with know that I NEVER want glue sticks if we are working on an art and craft project.  I prefer regular good old Elmers glue!  Why?  I know they can be messy at first, but that’s because children need to learn how hard to squeeze. They need to be able to recognize that the glue cap isn’t open.  They need to use their little hand muscles to squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.  Real glue, please!  Also – need a quick glue cap #OThack for little hands?  Use a Wikki Stix  (aka Bendaroo) on the cap so kids know where to pinch.  It also helps them to hold, so their little fingers don’t slide when they twist.

pet peeves of a school based Occupational Therapist

SENSORY PROCESSING

3)   Too many cushion seats – This one is in a special case.  Generally, if a teacher asks me for a cushion seat, I’m psyched.  I love that they are looking for a strategy to increase a child’s ability to focus.  BUT – when a teacher approaches me and says “I need five seat cushions”, my immediate reply (in my head, of course) is “Um, NO, you need to change your classroom routine.” If that many children are having difficulty sitting still or focusing, the classroom routine should be altered to include lots of brain breaks, heavy work, and changes in position.

A cushion seat should be the exception, not the rule. Kids need to move! 

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