Tips from an Occupational Therapist. By Olivia Hoffsuemmer.
September is in full swing and children are back to school for their first full week of classes. If you are looking for tips to make the transition smoother, check out our recommendations from Olivia Hoffsuemmer, our Occupational Therapist at This World's Ours Centre.
Here are the top 5 recommendations to make back to school a breeze.
Tip #1 - Start the day with regulation
Incorporating regulating activities into your child's morning routine can help them feel calm and prepared to start the school day. Regulating activities are different for every child and can depend on their sensory needs.
Some activities include:
- deep breathing
- tight hugs
- jumping on the trampoline
- looking through picture books
- listening to comforting music
Tip #2 - Create a routine
As many changes occur during back-to-school season, routines can provide consistency and organization. Routines also give your child the opportunity to practice their independence with daily tasks.
For example, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, putting dirty dishes away, etc.
Tip #3 - Ask for accommodations
To optimize your child's success at school, reach out to your child's teacher and support team to discuss what accommodations can be put in place.
Accommodations may be in the form of extra time on assignments, special equipment, alternative seating, brain breaks, etc.
Tip #4 - Practice fine motor skills
Fine motor skills are essential for your child's performance in daily activities and school tasks, such as feeding, printing, cutting, and playing with small objects. To improve these skills consider activities that build hand strength and encourage a pincer grasp. For example, sculpting with PlayDoh or Putty, building with Lego, beading, or playing with finger puppets.
Tip #5 - Sensory input and backpack recommendations
Pressure input from a backpack can be similar to the sensory input from a weighted blanket or vest for children who benefit from it. However, a child's backpack should never exceed over 10% of their body weight. To prevent shoulder or neck problems, have your child carry a book or two in their hands for some heavy work (sensory input) to their upper extremities.
Looking to learn more?
Book an occupational therapy session with Olivia Hoffsuemmer here.
Learn more by reading Meeting the Sensory Needs of Young Children by Stacy D. Thompson & Jill M. Raisor.