It is important to get our children to school but it is also important to get kids to school on time and ready to learn. The two biggest culprits that get in the way of being on time include oversleeping and morning stress.
Pack It Light, Wear It Right:
Aching backs and shoulders? Tingling arms? Weakened muscles? Stooped posture? Does your child have these symptoms after wearing a heavy school backpack? Carrying too much weight in a pack or wearing it the wrong way can lead to pain and strain. By considering the following suggestions, parents can take steps to help children load and wear backpacks the correct way to avoid health problems.
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Academic Success & Social Participation
Winter greetings from the Derry Occupational Therapy Department! As OTs, we use our expertise to help children with and without disabilities be prepared for and perform important learning and school-related activities to fulfill their roles as students. In the school setting, occupational therapy practitioners support academic and non- academic outcomes, including social skills, math, reading, writing, recess, participation in sports, self-help skills, prevocational or vocational participation, and more. Our goal is for all students to build upon their strengths while developing academic and social skills necessary for future independent living. Below are some tips from the American Occupational Therapy Association to facilitate academic success and social participation.
Tips for Academic Success
The American Occupational Therapy Association
Executive function is a set of skills that help your child make plans, control behavior, and set goals. Your child’s growing brain, as Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child, describes it, is like a busy airport, and executive function is its air-traffic control system. It allows a child to focus on an activity, remember details, and manage their time—all critical tasks for success in school.
Greetings from the occupational therapy department at DVS. As we enjoy the busy months of fall, one thing we often hear from parents is that there is never enough time in a day to finish everything that needs to get done. Balancing a list of everyday chores, fall-time activities, and spending quality time with your child can seem like an impossible task. One of the ways to make the balancing act easier is to combine: spend quality time with your child while doing the other jobs. Below is a list of ways to make common chores into quality activity times, but the options are endless. With a little bit of imagination, even the most dreaded job can be the perfect chance to have a great time with your child. Before you know it, you will all be… Cheering for Chores!
Doing the laundry: The laundry room is the perfect learning environment for children. Opening detergent containers, scooping or pouring the soap, turning knobs and pressing buttons are all fantastic ways to promote fine motor skills in your child. Leaning down and then reaching up to load or unload the machines can build strength and posture, and scooping up a pile of warm, soft, fresh-smelling, newly washed clothing is an unbeatable sensory experience. Laundry also provides the perfect chance to practice sorting skills. Before the wash, let your child help you sort light clothes from dark ones or clothes from sheets/towels. When the wash is done, your child can help put the clothes into different piles (one for shirts, one for pants, etc.). Allow your child to fold her own clothes – they may not be perfect, but it’s a great activity for motor coordination and spatial skills. And kids can be the perfect volunteers to help match up all those pesky socks!
Shopping for groceries: The grocery store is another setting that offers a wide range of learning opportunities. To help your child learn categorization skills, make a game of finding different items in the store: “We need some Cheerios. Do you think I should look in the cereal aisle or the vegetable section? Let’s see if you’re right!” (You can always pick up something else if they guess incorrectly!) Let your child help you count out multiples of the same item, like cans of soup or pieces of fruit. When your child is tall enough, build his upper body strength by allowing him to push the cart. Reaching up high or down low for different items strengthens trunk muscles as well. At check out time, talk with your child about the names and values of different coins and bills. Whenever possible, allow your child to use his senses to explore the items you are buying. What do they smell like? What do they feel like? Are they heavy or light?
Preparing dinner: Kids love to help out in the kitchen. Take advantage of your child’s curiosities and let her be part of making dinner. Pouring, scooping, and stirring all promote fine motor skills and shoulder strength. Learning how to follow a recipe, proceeding step-by-step, can aid in the development of sequencing skills. Measuring offers the perfect chance to work on early math skills. Ask your child which container has more and which has less and talk about full versus empty. Allow your child to help you count as you add multiples of an ingredient (“One scoop, two scoops…”). Discuss how long will take to make the dish (a few more minutes versus a few more hours) to give your child a better understanding of the concept of time. When it comes time to set the table, teaching your child where the different dishes and utensils are placed, using words like “above” and “next to,” and later “left” and “right” will develop her understanding of spatial relationships. And don’t forget about all of the sensory experiences that will be literally at your fingertips. Look, smell, touch, and taste anything reasonable!
Washing the dishes: Your child might not be old enough to thoroughly wash the dishes yet, but he can help you “pre-wash” them. Turning the faucets, squeezing the dish detergent bottle, and wringing out wet sponges are great activities for building hand and wrist muscles. Scrubbing, especially repeatedly, exercises shoulder muscles. Playing in the sudsy water is not only fun, but also an excellent sensory experience. Don’t forget to talk about each of the items and their purposes.
With just a little extra time you can make everyday chores
into rich, skill-building experiences… Have fun!
Created by S.Daley, OTR/L
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