Advanced Pediatric Therapies

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Have Holiday Travel Planned? Some Tips to Get You There….

The holidays are a busy travel time.

The holidays are a busy travel time.

Traveling these days can be anxiety provoking for anyone, let alone our kids!  Before traveling this year, consider these tips.

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare!  Let your child know when you are leaving, where you are going, who you will be visiting and what you will be doing.  The more they know ahead of time, the less likely the tantrum.
  • As part of the preparation, do an activity.  Have your child make a drawing of their cousins.  Show them pictures of their aunts and uncles if they haven’t seen them in a while.  Or show them photos of your destination.  Even showing them photos of the inside of an airport, security lines, etc.  Let them know!
  • All of us who travel know that it can be a frustrating process.  There may be delays or other unforeseen circumstances.  Have a back up plan like a travel game or photos or a favorite book.  If your child has a “lovey” that’s manageable, let them bring it!
  • Noise reducing headphones, post it notes, usually-not-allowed treats and stickers go a long way to reducing stress when you need it.  During the travel itself, be a little looser with the rules.  It will help everyone breathe a little easier.
  • By all means, if you are staying with friends or relatives, prepare them for your child’s needs and behavior.  If your child requires special seating, let them know you need a special spot.  If your child has special food requirements, pick them up ahead of time or let your family know.  If they know what to expect, your family and friends will be willing to help.
  • If your child’s behavior is an issue, talk to your therapist about how to manage it ahead of time.  This can include using routing planning charts, receiving special buttons for good behavior or other techniques.
  • Don’t plan too much!  Keep sightseeing and activities to a level that allows for rest and time to hang out.
  • Be willing to change the plan if it’s not working.
  • Keep food and other daily expectations as close to what they would have at home as possible.
  • Remember to have fun, connect with your child and enjoy the time away.  Research shows that vacations are the perfect time to work on ridding yourself of bad habits.  Think about that as you give yourself some much needed downtime.
  • If your child’s vestibular processing predisposes them to motion sickness, prepare with some ice cubes, water and perhaps an over the counter remedy.  Some parents we know swear by lavender essential oils to ease motion sickness on a long car trip.

Have a great trip!

photo from familytravel.com

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Self Control/Self Regulation: What does it all mean?

In the clinic, we often refer to self regulation or self control as an important skill for kids to develop.  Why?  In our media-saturated culture, our kids often have trouble switching gears.  They focused on that little noise when the heat kicks on or so entranced in a game that they can’t even hear you calling them.  We want our kids to be independent, but in order to do that, they have to be able to put distractors aside so that they can focus on something more important, like playing with a sibling or doing their homework.  Not so easy.  But there are some ways kids can practice self control.  Try some of these ideas in your home and see what works for your child.

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1. )  Follow a recipe or start a new game.  Each requires step by step instruction.  It has to be a game your child really wants to play or something they really want to eat.

2.)  They must learn to wait for you.  Don’t drop whatever you’re doing because your child is jumping up and down to get your attention.  The world won’t stop for them so they need some practice waiting.  This may be harder for you than it is for them, but worthwhile.

3.)  Use a timer!  We use one all the time in the clinic.  A visual timer (red denotes the time until the activity is finished) is useful for kids who can’t read numbers.  They know how much time is left and can see it pass.

4.)  Remind them you can help if they need it.  Try not to ask, just inform that you are there if needed.  Questions are often stressful when a child is trying to do something difficult.  Take turns.  Or start and let them finish.

5.)  Start a project that will take an extended amount of time to complete.  Plant a garden.  Work on a Lego Challenge.  Sign up for a race together and train for it.  This teaches patience, and that steady effort and consistency is required.

6.)  Look in the mirror.  You are your child’s greatest teacher.  If you fly off the handle easily or are quick to give up when challenged, consider how your behavior looks to your child.

7.)  Give them some ideas if they are all out.  Tell them you can give them some ideas if they are open to it.  (Post coming up on “coping strategies”)  Suggest getting a drink of water or going out to climb their favorite tree.

8.)  Don’t expect more than their age can deliver.  If a tired toddler is dragged into a supermarket, you really only have yourself to blame!  Set reasonable expectations and your child will be more likely to meet them.

9.)  Give them some down time.  This can’t be overstated.  Research suggests that children who are over-scheduled are more likely to have meltdowns than those who are given more free time during the day.

10.)  Know when to do nothing.  When your child is demonstrating some self control, let them.  The only thing you need to do is give them positive reinforcement for doing so.

Thanks to yourtherapysource.blogspot.com for ideas for this post.

 

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