8 Genius Therapist Inspired Toddler Hacks

My New Favorite Parenting Hack Book

Did you register for “What to expect when you’re expecting?”, My mom asked me on the way to my shower.

“No- there’s an app for that!” I told her, laughing.  I knew she wouldn’t get the joke, but I really did have the app.  It’s a pregnancy milestone app that tells you everything you need along the way.   Truthfully, all the books I registered for were for the baby, not me.   I didn’t think I needed it.  I have the internet.

Genius Therapist Inspired Toddler Parenting Hacks

But when my friend Amy gave me a gift on my last day of work, she said, “You’ll love this book- It’s so you.  I know you love a good hack.  I learned a ton from this book, “Parent Hacks, 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids”.

She was right- this book was right up my ally.  It was filled with short but brilliant “Parenting  Tips”, but any and all of them would be helpful for a therapist or teacher, too. Therapists who travel from school to school to see different children have brilliant kid hacks.  They know how to save space and money better than anyone.

These OT Inspired Hacks are aimed at parents of toddlers, but they’re great for any parent or therapist who works with children. Here are my favorite!

8 Toddler Hacks Every Parent Should Know

  1. Store your puzzles in an accordion folder.  This limits all those pieces from flying all over- especially if you’re a traveling therapist or a parent who prefers toys over electronics.

2. Store your coloring books in a dish drain container – the slots in a dish drain are perfect for separating coloring books- and you can stick your crayons in the utensil spots- Genius!

3. Clean up glitter with play-doh.  YES! Glitter is sooo fun, but what a pain to clean.  Playdoh is a great idea- and who cares if your play-doh gets glittery? That only makes it more fun!

4.  Turn your portable crib into a ball pit.  Wow- one of the things I don’t like about ball pits is that it’s so tough to keep the balls inside- they always end up everywhere.  But the walls of a pack n play are tall- making it so much easier to have all the fun without the mess.  Love it!  This would be a great idea for a therapy room, too.  Another good one?  Use an empty laundry basket!

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Check out this FREE Toddler Conference! Get your free ticket TODAY, the conference is next week!

SIMPLE WAYS TO KEEP SMALL TOYS IN PLACE

5. Contain small parts with a cookie sheet.   I’ve spoken about this one- but it’s worth sharing.  A cookie sheet is FANTASTIC for keeping messes contained, from shaving cream to clay to beads and Legos.  (I also LOVE the EZPZ for this purpose.  Its initial purpose is to keep kids from spilling food off the tray, but it works great for fine motor activities).  The edges keep them from going all over the table, as well as the floor. I always have a cookie sheet in my trunk and my therapy bag.  Plus, they’re only a dollar at the dollar store!

6. Turn an under bed storage box into a sandbox.  I actually like these for any kind of sensory bin.  They’re nice and big, so the child can actually get inside if they want.  But I’ve used them for rice bins, weather-themed bins (fake snow is always a hit), and fake “coffins” at Halloween time! (see my garden dirt recipe here)

PARENTING and THERAPIST ORGANIZATION HACKS

7. Use a wine bottle tote as a car organizer. This hack is great for parents and therapists!  The tall skinny vertical compartments are great for curling up activity booklets, crayons, sensory bottles, etc. I love to use an empty wipes jar as a fine motor and hand strengthening tool, they’d fit in there perfectly!

8. Use a hanging shoe organizer to organize craft supplies.  These shoe “pockets” are great for organizing glue, paint, crayons, coloring books, etc.  Plus, it takes up vertical space, which is perfect for a small therapy room or a child’s playroom.  This would even be a great way to organize the trunk of your car!  Cut the pockets and hang them around the edge of the car- then you can find all the toys you need for each kid!

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Learn the skills to parent your toddler without the stress! Join this free Toddler Conference and gain the knowledge of + speakers.

 

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Ten Best Apps for Handwriting with Kids

As I walked into school the other day, a friend of mine grabbed me in a panic and said “Should my four-year-old really be practicing a page of letters every night?! This is the only time I get to spend with her and I’m forcing her to write a whole page of D’s! This stinks!”

No, as an OT, I don’t believe that a four-year-old should be practicing a page of letters for twenty minutes a night.  It’s too much for those little hands.

But – an educator who spends two days a week in kindergarten, I have to say, this is where the curriculum is going. Developmentally, preschoolers are still preschoolers, but kindergarten curriculum expectations have increased tremendously.  Little kids are expected to be able to write upon entering kindergarten.  Preschools are bowing to the pressure and teaching what used to be the kindergarten curriculum.

I felt empathetic towards my friend who just wants to play with her little girl at night, rather than drilling her to finish a worksheet.  But here’s what I told her.

Think about it differently.  You have the chance to make sure she learns all her letters correctly before she starts Kindergarten.  There will be other children in her class who don’t know their letters, and the teacher won’t be able to really sit with them one on one to make sure they get it.  Many teachers teach one letter a day in two forms (capital and uppercase), so the kids don’t really develop the motor memory.  It’s difficult for kids to learn it and to write comfortably at this rushed pace.   If a child learns their letters correctly it is so much easier for them to write neatly.  It becomes automatic.”

 

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Why not to push handwriting for kids

handwriting, preschool, school, writing, visual motor, graphomotor, OT, Miss Jaime OT

Pushing kids into writing before they are developmentally ready happens to be one of my pet peeves. (I actually have quite a few of them, you can read all about them here. )

Experience has shown me is that children should NOT be pushed into handwriting before they’re ready. So many kids are entering Kindergarten without the basic pre-writing skills they need. Yet the Kindergarten curriculum expects them to be writing right away!

Before handwriting, children need to master pre-writing skills

Pre-writing skills are the lines, shapes, and strokes kids need to master and know before learning how to print the alphabet. They develop from 1 year to 5 years old.

Pre-writing skills ARE important.

Kids need to learn and master pre-writing lines, strokes, and shapes and strengthen their fine
motor skills before learning how to form the letters of their name or the alphabet.

Prewriting Milestones

1-2 years old:

A baby is typically scribbling and learning to make marks on a paper. They are probably holding a crayon or marker with their whole hand. This is called a palmar supinate grasp.

As they develop more control, the next step is to imitate. Maybe you make a line or shape and
then your child imitates that same line or shape.

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5 Reasons to Ditch the Screens and PLAY!

This is a guest post about the benefits of play, written by Jenny Silverstone.

5 Extraordinary Benefits of Playtime

Sticky sap on hands from climbing trees.

Glitter going (and staying!) absolutely everywhere.

Always, the sound of laughter.

Playtime, in all of its various forms, is a hallmark of a happy childhood. However, in today’s fast-paced society children often lose the time they need to play. Some may wonder if playtime is truly a “big deal” and has any sort of positive effect on children as they grown.

The answer is a resounding yes! Playtime has many extraordinary benefits to help children in their physical, mental, and emotional development. Here are just five benefits of play.

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Happy Mat and “Making Mealtime EZPZ” Giveaway!

May’s Theme on Miss Jaime, O.T. is Sensory Processing!

I’m so excited to announce my next giveaway!

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED!

We have a Happy Mat from EZPZ AND a copy of the book “Making Mealtime EZPZ”

EZPZ

*This post contains affiliate links

ENTER HERE TO WIN

a Rafflecopter giveaway

EZPZ has offered to raffle off a Happy Mat and a AND a copy of the book “Making Mealtime EZPZ”   *See the raffle details below 

Want to know more?

ABOUT EZPZ and Happy Mats

ezpz products are different than anything else on the market.

Each product is an all-in-one placemat + plate/bowl made from high-quality silicone. What else? The mat SUCTIONS directly to the table, making it difficult for tiny hands to tip over.

Other special features:

  • Placemat + plate captures most of the mess
  • 3-4 Happy Mats can be stacked and carried with food
  • Promotes self-feeding and develops fine motor skills
  • Easy to clean with warm soapy water (silicone doesn’t support the growth of fungus, mold or bacteria)
  • Dishwasher, microwave and oven safe
  • Made from 100% silicone that is BPA, BPS, PVC and phthalate free
  • Easy to store (place in utensil drawer or cabinet)
  • Built to last (silicone is bendable and flexible and doesn’t fade, corrode or deteriorate)

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Check out the EZPZ website online or on Facebook!

To see the amazing variety of products, fabrics, and designs that are available.  Here are just a few:

EZPZ EZPZ EZPZ
 EZPZ  EZPZ  EZPZ

The EZPZ GiveAway Details:

    • Raffle starts May 10, 2018  and runs until May 17th at 4 pm EST.
    • The winner of the Happy Mat and book will be picked randomly and announced Thursday night, May 17th, on Miss Jaime, O.T.’s Facebook Live video.
    • The winner will also be notified via email.
    • The winner will get a Happy Mat and a copy of the book “Making Mealtime EZPZ”

Don’t want to wait?   You don’t have to!

EZPZ is offering 10% off the entire store!

Click this link– NO PROMO CODE NEEDED

Offer ends May 31st, 2018

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Weighted Lap Pad Giveaway!

May’s Theme on Miss Jaime, O.T. is Sensory Processing!

To kick off the month with a bang, I’m so excited to announce a giveaway!

We have a handmade custom weighted lap pad, valued at $40, up for grabs!

ENTER HERE TO WIN

a Rafflecopter giveaway

KP Designs Shop has offered to raffle off a custom-made lap pad- You get to pick the fabric!    *See the raffle details below in regards to choosing your fabric. 

Does your child love princesses?  Fish?  Trains?  No problem!  KP Designs Shop provides fabrics according to your personal preferences, offering emotional and physical comfort to kids and adults who hadn’t found it.  When you order from KP Designs Shop, you can choose from hundreds of different fabrics and patterns.

Want to know more?

Weighted Lap Pad Giveaway

Click the Image to Enter!

ABOUT WEIGHTED LAP PADS AND BLANKETS

Weighted blankets and lap pads are often recommended for individuals with sensory integration disorder, Autism, anxiety, ADHD, Rett Syndrome, PTSD, Restless Leg Syndrome, and many other conditions.  They provide the body with proprioceptive input which can cause the brain to release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.  These neurotransmitters released by the brain have natural calming effects.   This can help people to calm down, sleep, and relax when they normally wouldn’t be able to.

ABOUT KP DESIGNS Shop Custom Made Weighted Products 

KP Designs Shop is run by a pediatric Occupational Therapist.  Each order is custom-made, which makes every order special.  Customers get to choose their fabric and pick their product.  Then KP Designs Shop customizes your purchase according to your weight and fabric preference.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Check out Kp Designs Shop ‘s website  online or on Facebook!

To see the amazing variety of products, fabrics, and designs that are available.  Here are just a few:

The Weighted Lap pad GiveAway Details:

    • Raffle starts April 30th, 2018  6 pm and runs until May 7th at 12 am EST.
    • The winner of the weighted lap pad will be picked randomly and announced Monday night, May 7th, on Miss Jaime, O.T.’s Facebook Live video.
    • The winner will also be notified via email.
    • The winner can choose from a variety of fabrics available specifically for this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t want to wait?   You don’t have to!

Kp Designs Shop is offering 15% off weighted lap pads and blankets with the promo code “MISSJAIMEOT”  till the end of the month!

Offer ends May 31st, 2018

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5 Creative Core Strength Activities

 

Need ideas to help your child get strong? Here are five creative core strength activities using the Core Strength Handbook!

Core Strength Actvities

Does Your Child Have Weak Core Strength?

Does your child slump and slouch all the time?

Do they have difficulty with balance?

Is their “helping hand” holding their body up, rather than hold their paper steady?

Do they always lean on a chair, the couch, or other furniture when sitting on the floor?

Are they struggling to participate in exercise due to poor endurance?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may have weak core strength.

*This post contains affiliate links

I’ve been on a CORE STRENGTHENING kick lately.  Poor Core Strength is often an underlying cause of many other deficits a child may be demonstrating. Plus, it counts as “heavy work”, because it provides proprioceptive input – so it’s great for my sensory kiddos too!

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