Occupational Therapy Tips for Kids you can try at home
Does your child have trouble with things like handwriting, zipping, buttoning or sitting up at the table?
Something MetroEHS Occupational Therapists focus on with children is core strength. Many times, children with decreased core strength have difficulty with handwriting, zipping, buttoning and sitting up straight at the table. Oftentimes kids would decreased core strength will prefer to slouch or will prefer to lay on the ground to complete activities because it’s hard for them to engage their core. In the clinic we like to address this using occupational swings and therapy balls. These are fun ways to encourage kids to engage their core during various games and play activities.
You may be thinking, I don’t have a therapy ball or an occupational swing in my house.
Good News! In the home there are a few things that you could do. One idea is taking a jump rope or a piece of string and laying it in the yard and having your child pretend it is a tightrope. When they do this, they are really focusing on balance and to balance they will need to engage their core. So this is a fun way to really get your child involved and also engage their core at the same time. Another simple thing that you can do is using the sitting position, criss-cross applesauce. What happens when we sit criss-cross applesauce is we reduce our base of support. When a child doesn’t have their legs spread very wide they really have to engage their core to sit straight up. To get your child involved in this, do something like playing with cars or some form of play on the floor in that position. Sit with your child criss-cross applesauce and encourage them to really tighten their tummy muscles and sit up straight.
If you start to do these things in your everyday routine you will increase your child’s chance of success sitting at a table longer and able to sit by themselves on the floor. You may see some changes functionally; some better handwriting, better ability to use their hands. Because they don’t have to focus on their tummy – having worked on their core – they can move on to work on other skills.