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Author: Janis Bautz

Mealtime Wiggles

So frequently do I hear “my kid takes a bite to eat then leaves the table” or “my kid can’t sit still throughout his entire meal” creating a lengthy meal time and impacting positive mealtime dynamics. Here’s come tips and tricks for getting your child to sit for longer durations:

  • LOTS of heavy work right before meal time!
    • Helps get extra energy out right before having to sit down
    • Bear walks, wheelbarrow walks, rolling child up in a blanket like a burrito and then unrolling MANY times, frog hops, running and crashing into pillows/ blankets over and over, crawling over pillows/ blankets/ couch cushions thrown unevenly onto floor, inchworms, belly on ball arm walkouts, lifting or pushing heavy baskets
  • Wiggle cushion
    • Round or inclined textured cushions can help provide movement even while seated (can be purchased  on Amazon)
    • Can also place cushion on floor for child to stand and move on while remaining at table.
  • Weighted blanket or lap pad while seated; weighted shoulder wrap (also available on Amazon )
  • Boundary to maintain near table, even if not sitting.
    • Try a chair with arms on it
    • Provide painters tape boundary on floor for child to remain in during meal. Start off bigger and make boundary smaller as the child displays readiness. Be strict on maintaining in boundary area throughout meal.
    • Can provide sensory movement items in this area.
  • Thera-band wrapped around chair leg
    • Child can push legs/feet to fidget on band while sitting
  • Allow child to stand and eat if that’s what is needed to remain near table
  • Wobble stool (available on Amazon)
    • Only use if child has enough core stability and safety awareness
    • Ensure table height matches with chair height
    • Better for older children
  • Stabilize those little feet!
    • Stabilizing the feet will help to stabilize the core. When our core is not stable, our attention is overall decreased and chewing can become a chore.
  • Textures or fidgets
    • Attach velcro textures under table or chairs
    • Special “meal only” fidgets to play with and only while sitting or standing right at table
  • List of discussion topics for family to engage in
    • Talk about feelings  throughout day, favorite/ worst moments
    • Distraction is a great way to enhance attention
  • Have child walk around with weighted backpack for up to x20 minutes prior to meal
    • Can wear while helping set table
  • Timer
    • See how long the child can tolerate sitting, then lengthen the timer just a bit longer. When sitting for timer duration is easily attainable for child, adjust timer for a slightly longer time frame.

*Strategies may take multiple attempts to see change. Keep trying and be consistent!

*Some strategies may work, and some may not. That is okay! Find what is right for your child.

If your child is having trouble sitting still during mealtimes, during free time playing at home, in the school setting, and overall seeking extra movement from same aged peers or siblings don’t hesitate to give us a call. BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy offers free screenings and consultations through Telehealth or at one of our child-friendly therapy gyms in Orland Park and Aurora, IL.

Written by: Rebecca MacKenzie, M.S., OTR/L

Undistracted eating- Meals without the iPad

It has become a common occurrence to see a child on an iPad while out to eat, and often enough we hear families telling stories about iPads at meals. We get it. It is hard! Kids don’t want to sit still; kids don’t want to eat right now; my kid is super picky; there’s more than one kid to take care of so the iPad acts as a babysitter. The reasons go on and the iPad makes these small parts of the day run a little bit smoother. But here are some important reasons why undistracted eating is best and tips how to try and ditch that iPad altogether while at the table. 

  • Promotes obesity OR child may not be eating enough
    • When deeply focusing on the iPad it is common to robotically continue to place food into our mouths without realizing just how much food we’ve eaten. Adults do it too!
    • Children may become SO distracted they minimally eat anything at all! Later you find them irritable and “always hungry”, as some parents report.
    • This impacts a child’s ability to listen to cues from their body (interoception) on when they feel full,  if they are still hungry, or if they need a drink of water. This is SO important! Lack of attending to our body cues can begin to impact our emotional awareness and control.
  • Promotes poor posture
    • Increases risk of future musculoskeletal problems such as back and neck pain due to leaning position
    • Carry over poor seated posture to school and play
    • Increases choking risk due to decreased attending to oral feedback telling us we’ve chewing enough times prior to swallowing and poor posture impacting alignment of swallowing mechanisms impacting ease of food movement down to tummy
  • Decreases social interactions
    • Discourages learning about others, asking questions about the world, discussing our emotions, working on back and forth conversations, discussing foods presented on plate
  • Minimizes exploration with foods 
    • “Well my kid is picky anyways…”, but that is okay!! (and may actually be a result from all the table iPad use)
    • Kid gets busy touching iPad and not exploring or playing with the food options
    • When a child gets “bored” sitting at the table they will be encouraged to fidget with anything…including food. Encourage this, even if it doesn’t get eaten.
  • But what can I do besides an iPad?
    • Fun plates (Amazon “kids maze plates)
    • Silly utensils (sometimes comes with the plates and can be found on Amazon)
    • Specified “table toys” if they absolutely need something to do while eating (especially out at restaurants)
    • List of questions to discuss with parents or siblings (best/worst part of day, what else do I want to do today…)
    • Exploring then reporting the senses of each food – smell, lick/taste, color, visual presentation (bumpy, smooth, fluffy…) and
    • comparing one strawberry to another one, feel (wet/dry, tough/soft…)
    • If you haven’t started providing an iPad at meals, don’t start it!! Even if the older sibling is stuck on the iPad at meals use. Eliminating 1 iPad will be better than having to eliminate 2.
    • If your child has trouble rapidly transitioning to no iPads at meals, then start gradually. Start with only half the meal where they can have the iPad, then decrease that time length every day until they can tolerate no iPad throughout the entire meal.

If your child absolutely cannot separate themselves from having an iPad at meal times even when attempting the above listed suggestions, has a tough time transitioning away from iPads in general, or displays additional difficulties with feeding with or without an ipad present don’t hesitate to give us a call. BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy offers free screenings and consultations through Telehealth or at one of our child-friendly therapy gyms in Orland Park and Aurora, IL

Written by: Rebecca MacKenzie, M.S., OTR/L

“I’m So Bored”

Movement and sensory experiences allow us to grow as an individual through problem solving, body awareness and creativity. Here are some great activities to get your child moving and ways to stay creative while the colder weather moves in!

Movement: Movement activities allow your child to get their energy out and move in a new way.

Make your own obstacle course

  • Find supplies around the house! Use pillows, chairs, a tunnel, baskets, blankets, painters tape, etc.
  • Add in some moves! Animal walks, hopping, walking backwards, jumping jacks, cross crawls, etc.

Tape pathways

  • Use some painters tape and make a variety of paths on the floor (zig zag, straight line, boxes, etc.)
  • Then have your child walk the path without losing their balance. OR have them push a toy car along the “road.”

Balloon tap

  • Blow up some balloons and let your child have fun!
  • Play keep it up, tap it back and forth, or even kick it!

Hide and seek

  • Hide a certain amount of objects around the house- this can be toys, pictures with different symbols, a deck of cards, etc.
  • Have your child scan the room to find the missing items!

Sensory Play: Sensory activities are also great for exploring new textures and being creative! 

Snow dough

  • Here is a link to the video and instructions!
  • Supplies needed: Hair conditioner and cornstarch
  • Once made, use cookie cutters, build a snowman, hide small items inside, etc.

 Ice cube painting

  • Use an ice cube tray and fill it with a mixture of water, koolaid or food coloring, then place a popsicle stick in each part and freeze it!
  • Once frozen, use them to paint

Sensory bins

  • Use a bin or even a ziploc bag to place various materials in. You can use:
    • cooked spaghetti, sand, crinkle paper, water, beans, rice, Pluffle, etc.
  • Hide some items within your chosen material and then find them! Examples of items:
    • Legos, action figures, cars, dinosaurs, puzzle pieces, blocks, animal toys, etc.

Shaving cream

  • Place shaving cream on a cookie tray with cars, legos, or any toy! And enjoy!

If your child has difficulty completing any of these gross motor tasks or tolerating any of these sensory related activities, schedule a free screen with BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy through the office or the website at  https://bdiplayhouse.com/free-screenings/.

Written By: Kiersten Robertson, MOT, OTR/L

How is a Developmental Optometrist Evaluation Different than a Vision Test?

We often hear from parents that their child “passed their eye test” which was most likely offered at school or at a well baby visit in the pediatrician’s office.  Sometimes our Occupational Therapists identify that although a child’s visual acuity test may not have shown a deficit, there are some visual skill deficits that may be present. Difficulties with vision skills often contribute to the challenges that are addressed by an Occupational Therapist, which is why we will occasionally recommend a Developmental Optometrist Evaluation. Today we welcome a guest writer to our blog from the developmental optometrist offices of Dr. Marini & Dr. Campbell to help our parents understand the importance of this referral! Dr. Marini & Dr. Campbell are two of the excellent doctors featured on BDI’s trusted professionals list who specialize in this area, have worked with us often, are eager to collaborate with us, and consistently help our kids achieve great results!

Website: Drs. Marini & Campbell Website

Facebook: Drs. Marini & Campbell Facebook

What is a Developmental Optometrist?

A developmental optometrist is an eye doctor who has more specialized training than regular optometrists. To gain the distinction of Developmental Optometrist, one must complete several extra years of post-graduate training. Like regular optometrists, developmental optometrists check acuity and health of patient’s eyes, but they also run additional tests to determine if patients have the visual skills necessary to perform tasks regularly required in daily life, especially at work or school. Due to these tests, developmental optometrists specialize in diagnosing and treating delays in visual skills, amblyopia (lazy eye), and strabismus (crossed) or wandering eyes.

When to See a Developmental Optometrist

There are certain symptoms that may be indicative of vision problems, especially in children. These include: squinting, eye rubbing, and excessive blinking. Other warning signs may occur when, and immediately after, reading. Some of the most common behaviors that are indicators of visual difficulties are: head tilting, closing or blocking an eye, headaches, dizziness, or nausea.

Besides physical clues, there are also performance-based clues, as well as secondary symptoms and specific labels that children with vision problems have. Generally, children with visual difficulties display one or more of these visual performance clues: avoidance of near work, difficulty copying from the board, and poor handwriting. When reading, these children may consistently: lose their place, have poor comprehension, omit, insert, or reread letters and words, confuse similar looking words, and fail to recognize the same word in different sentences. This can lead to the development of secondary symptoms such as: seeming smart in everything but school, as well as significant frustration, stress, and fatigue with written work, as well as a child being mislabeled as a slow learner, working below potential, or as having Attention Deficit Disorder.

If your child is displaying any of these symptoms and you would like some help specific to your child, please contact Dr. Marini & Dr. Campbell’s office to set up an evaluation or consult with one of the Occupational Therapists at BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy to find a trusted doctor near you.

Written by: Julie Metzler, Manager of Vision Therapy

Busting Behavior Challenges: Behavior Management Strategies

Behavior.  Something sets off your child, and the screaming, throwing, crying, or hitting behavior begins. We have all been there. Your panic rises. Somehow, you make it through the moment and on to the next, but there may be chaos left in the wake of the meltdown as a result of negative behaviors. Occasionally, negative behaviors become more than occasional. When your child is displaying persistent negative behaviors, there are a few strategies you can take to get back on track.

Sensory Strategies:

Addressing the sensory system is a powerful tool in behavior management and redirection. Engaging in these strategies throughout the day can be a preventative means of managing behaviors, where as bringing these strategies into the moment can assist in calming down an escalated child.

    1. Wiggle Jiggles:

      Have your child lay on the floor on their back.  Take hold of the child’s feet and push the feet towards their head/pull towards you. This shifting will cause the head to bounce slightly up and down in an organizing bobbing movement. This also allows pressure to be applied to the spinal column and joints in the legs in a rhythmic manner

    2. Squeeze something:

      Playing in putty, play dough, slime, stress balls (store bought or homemade!) allows for compression of joints and tension release. 

    3. Turn down the lights:

      Bright light wakes our system each morning. Dimmed lights/darkness calms us each night. You can dim lights or move your child to a darker space to reduce stimulation. 

    4. Declutter the environment:

      Having too many things around can be distracting or overwhelming for children.

    5. Stomp your feet:

      Get quick input by a simple movement such as stomping your feet or performing animal walks (bear crawl and crab walk).  

    6. Play quiet/wordless background music:

      Keeping an environment calm with music is a simple way to facilitate play and organization throughout the day. These can include classical music, tones/white noise, or piano versions of favorite songs.

    7. Lotion/Scents:

      Putting scented lotion on yourself or the child, or spritzing scented sprays/lotion can be a preferred way to calm the sensory system and maintain mental clarity.

    8. Chew something:

      Gum, crunchy or chewy snacks such as apples, carrots, celery sticks, thick rod pretzels, trail mix, or thick smoothies/milkshakes through a straw allows for the management of our taste buds and behavior.

    9. Provide a safe/quiet place:

       A safe place or quiet space can be found in a back seat of the car, a tent, a closet, a corner with bean bags, or anywhere that is enclosed. When overwhelmed, a child benefits greatly from having space to themselves to decompress.

    10. Join a class: Movement and engagement throughout a child’s day is extremely valuable.  Sign your child up for a community class such as gymnastics, swimming, karate, or soccer will get the muscles moving and the body calm!

Behavior Strategies:

 

Managing behavior through reinforcement and consequence strategies can be very effective for young children that are prone to outbursts or misbehavior:

    1. ABC Charts:

      Charts help document and remain objective about what behaviors we observe.  ABC charts help us determine the cause of negative behaviors. Write down the antecedent (A) what happened before the behavior, the behavior (B) in detail, and the consequence (C) that followed the behavior. Having this data allows us to develop the most effective intervention for behavioral challenges.

    2. Schedules:

      Visual (Picture) schedules or verbal schedules given throughout a day help provide guidelines for the day’s events or task expectations. This allows the child to understand what the day or activity will entail. It also allows the child to process what the day/week/month will hold so they can prepare themselves, their bodies, and their abilities.

    3. Countdowns/Timers:

      Using a timer allows the child to understand with warning that an end to a task is coming. The preparation a child can do mentally when forewarned about a transition will increase ease of moving on to the next thing!

    4. Behavior charts:

      A child benefits from a clear goal.  This can be achieved by giving a child direct and concrete feedback about their performance through a “behavior chart”. 

    5. Having a job:

      Give a child something special to do (teacher helper, passing out papers, retrieving a special item, making something specific). This gives children ownership in their actions and helps keep behavior on track! 

    6. Working for….:

      When we find that “Just-right” motivation for a child, we can allow them to work and behave accurately to achieve the motivating item/action! 

    7. First/Then:

       “First this activity, Then that activity” strategy tells a child clearly and completely what the expectation of behavior is and doesn’t allow for questions or confusion. 

    8. Rewarding positive behavior:

      Providing your most engaged, thrilled, and enthusiastic praise to your child for the behavior you expect and appreciate, with clapping, cheering, smiling, hugging, etc. will encourage your child to perform at their best again and again!

    9. Clear expectations of desired behavior:

      When telling a child “STOP behavior!”, they may only hear or process the behavior you have highlighted, and/or may not completely understand what you are asking of them. Rephrasing corrective statements to “Do” instead of “Don’t” actions can be helpful. For example, instead of saying “Don’t dump the cars out of the bucket!”, tell them “Keep the cars in the bucket”. Or, instead of staying “Stop running!”, tell them “Use your walking feet!”.

    10. Remain calm (Yourself!):

      Finally, the most important thing you can do when you encounter negative behaviors is to keep yourself in a calm state. As our level of excitement/frustration increases, so does our children’s. This causes us to lose our ability to correct with a clear and sound mind. Taking a deep breath, finding our center, and taking a moment to calm ourselves is often the most important step in the path to managing negative behaviors.

Managing challenging behaviors can be extremely difficult, but achieving success in this area can be life changing. If these strategies are not proving to be effective enough to get your days back on track, please contact BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy for a free consultation to get your child out of the behavior blues!

Written By: Margaret Lord, MS, OTR/L

 

How does Posture Impact Scoliosis?

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a curve in your spine that visually appears to move from side to side. A common misconception is that a scoliosis curve is 1 or 2-dimensional. It actually occurs through a 3-dimensional curve with changes in the bones at the apex of the curve. This 3-dimensional shape is seen all throughout the body! It is similar to the 3-dimensional shape that allows your hips and lower back to move in separate directions. These 3-dimensional changes occur all the way from when and how your foot contacts the floor to how your head and neck are positioned.  

Impact of Scoliosis in Children and Teenagers

Children and teenagers who have scoliosis will notice that these changes impact their posture and how they move.  Normally, the bones in the spine are rectangular and are evenly spaced from side to side. Children and teens who have scoliosis will have at least three bones in their spine that are larger on one side than the other. This is what contributes to the shape of the spine.   

Due to structural and postural abnormalities associated with scoliosis, it is important to maintain an upright posture and to avoid repetitive bending and twisting at the spine.  If your child maintains poor posture or rests into their curve, they can experience back pain and their curve may even worsen.   This will also cause more rotation of and stress on the bones of the spine. Your child or teen will need to maintain a neutral pelvis and upright posture.  This will prevent the worsening of scoliosis and overall posture.  A skilled Schroth-certified therapist can create a customized treatment program to help them learn how to use healthy posture and movement habits during their everyday activities.

Importance of Posture

So why is it important to develop and maintain a neutral posture? Think of a spine and the way it moves like a broken pearl necklace like in the image below. In this picture, the pelvis is the triangle and the spine is the string of pearls. Without a stable pelvis, the bones in the spine follow the path of least resistance and move further into a curve like when you drag the end of a pearl necklace and all the beads follow the path of the first bead.

However, if you take the end of the pearl necklace and hold it with one hand and then pull the other end with the other hand the pearl necklace will straighten. The same thing will happen when you learn to find a neutral pelvis and work on lengthening your spine with an upright posture.

Physical Therapy for Scoliosis

At BDI Playhouse, a Schroth-certified physical therapist can work with you and your child to learn ways to improve their posture while playing, doing sports, socializing, and during everyday activities at school and home. Schroth-certified therapists have special training to help children incorporate good posture into their everyday activities. This will stop curve progression, improve physical appearance, and improve health and functional abilities. We can work with you and your child to achieve any goal through the development of a healthy posture. To learn more about how we can work together to make those goals a reality, schedule a free screening  or call us at (708) 478-1820. 

Scoliosis exercise

Movements to avoid: Modified exercises for Scoliosis

Children and teenagers with scoliosis have changes in the alignment of the curve of their spines. Changes in the spine impact how the bones slide over each other when moving during day to day activities.  In addition, changes in the ligaments and muscle length result in the spine moving further into the Scoliotic posture when bending, extending, and rotating the spine. People with scoliosis should avoid these movements when possible. Repetitive movements into these postures can cause the curve to worsen during periods of growth. Children and teenagers are constantly growing which makes childhood and adolescence critical periods for ensuring proper movement and posture.

Functional movements that children and teenagers commonly perform that result in increased bending and rotating at the spine include: picking up/carrying objects, squatting, and doing stretches and core exercises. For children and teenagers, it is important to avoid these movements while playing, doing sports, socializing, and during everyday activities at school and home. A Schroth-certified physical therapist can help to make movement and posture modifications in order to bring the spine to a more natural position. They are trained to help children and teenagers learn safe movement and posture habits so that they can use them every day.

Children and teenagers with scoliosis should avoid exercises like sit-ups. They should also make sure to maintain a straight spine when performing other movements and stretches.  Other modifications include having your child bend their legs instead of their spine when picking up objects. They can do this by squatting down or kneeling on one knee when picking up something off the floor. Further, a Schroth-certified physical therapist can create a customized treatment plan that can address specific activities or sports that your child loves to do so that they can continue to participate in the safest way possible.

Stretching is still possible for your child or teenager, but it is important they try to keep their neck extended and maintain a straight spine. They can also perform stretches on their back when possible.  If your child’s head is flexed (bent down) the rest of their spine will follow this harmful posture and the spine may be progressed into a more curved position. 

 

 

Core Exercise Modifications

 

                    • Prone planks

 

 

                    • Bird Dogs

 

                • Leg lifts/lowers while laying on back

 

If your child or teenager has scoliosis, they can still excel in the sports and activities they love. They will just need to learn a few modifications to help maintain a healthy spine. Using the Schroth Method for scoliosis, physical therapists at BDI Playhouse can work with you and your child to achieve any goal while learning safe ways to perform certain movements. To learn more about how we can work together to make those goals a reality, schedule a free screening or call us at (708) 478-1820. 

 

I can wash my hands all by myself!

Is your child having trouble washing his hands by himself? Is he not thorough when washing hands? Or, would you like your child to wash hands independently? Teaching your child how to wash their hands can be accomplished in a few easy steps!  The important thing to remember when teaching any hygiene routine is to make it fun and model the action yourself!  The more they watch you do it, the more they will want to do it too!

First, make hand washing fun! Get some fun soap, make it a game, and sing a little song!  There are some fun songs on YouTube that you can memorize and sing along with your child or just make one up!

Tell your child they are germ busters when they wash their hands well. No germs will spread because I busted them up! 

Create a handwashing procedure and place it in the bathroom for your child to use. You can print this one if you like. Steps for hand washing.

  1.  Turn warm water on and wet hands.
  2. Lather up! Grab your fun soap and make tons of 
  3. Sing ABC’s or Happy Birthday while scrubbing to get rid of all the germs.
  4. Rinse those bubbles off your hands in warm water! See ya later bubbles! Turn the water off.
  5. Dry hands really well! All done! You did it! You busted all those germs! Yeah!!

If your child has a hard time implementing hand washing into their day and you would like some additional help specific to your child, please contact BDI playhouse to set up a free screening.

Written by: Jessica Frederick, OTA

Improve Children’s Posture – 5 Easy Exercises

Caregivers can help improve children’s posture by encouraging exercise! Children’s posture is influenced by injury, weakness, genetics, and daily habits. Slouching on a couch playing video games, carrying a heavy backpack, a sports injury, or bones misalignment can all impact proper posture. It is important to promote a good posture at a young age in order to prevent further injury, pain, and avoidance of activities that were once enjoyable to your child.

Here are 5 exercises to improve children’s posture:

1. Bridges

This exercise strengthens glutes and low back muscles to improve children’s posture. Make sure to complete repetitions slowly. Also, lift buttocks during inhalation and lower them during exhalation. During exhalation, you can have your child count out load from 1-5 or blow out. 

 

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2. Reverse abdominals

This exercise strengthens the abdominal muscle group, which is also key to improve children’s posture. Make sure to complete repetitions slowly. Also, lift feet during inhalation and lower them during exhalation. During exhalation, you can have your child count out-load from 1-5 or blow out. Avoid excessive arching of the low back during the exhalation phase.

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3. Superman:

Strengthens upper and low back muscle, glutes, and hamstrings. Have your child hold the position for 10-30 seconds while simultaneously counting out-load or singing a song.

 

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4. Down Dog Yoga Pose:

Strengthens core, hip, and shoulder muscles. In addition, assist with stretching, flexibility, and relaxation. Have your child hold the position for 10-15 seconds and avoid breath-holding.

5. Animal Walks:

Bear walks, crab walks, and frog jumps are just a few examples of fun and dynamic animal walks that can be incorporated into any activity to assist with core muscle strengthening.

If you find it is difficult to improve the child’s posture after trying these exercises, therapists at BDI Playhouse are here to help your child get stronger, learn healthy habits, and avoid further complications such as pain. Please contact us for a free consultation.

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Written by Keishla Gonzalez-Acosta, MSPT, DPT

Considering E-Learning Summer School? Find success with 3 simple tips!

Did you have trouble juggling your kids’ e-learning, your job, and the other many responsibilities that come with being a parent? Well, you’re not alone.  Do you want your child to do summer school but don’t know if you want to commit to more e-learning?

Here are 3 easy tips to help you and your child maximize the benefits and your time while completing E-learning activities. 

1. Start off your day by making a realistic schedule for what you want and need to accomplish. And don’t forget to let your kids help! 

  • Allowing your kids to have a say in what their day will look like will give them a sense of ownership, making it more likely for them to stick to it. Depending on the child, it can be as vague or detailed as you’d like. 
  • This schedule will set the expectations for what you and your kids will accomplish but also provides a set of boundaries. 
8:00 am

9:00 am

11:30

12:15

1:003:304:00 5:15 6:30 
Breakfast / free playE-learning with movement breaks includedOutside time / free playLunchE-learning with movement breaks included Go for a walkLast E-learning activities of the day!Help mom & dad with dinner / Free playDinner


2. Set up your environment for success for e-learning!

  • Pick 1 place in your house where school work will take place every day. This way your kids’ brain knows when it’s time to work and when it’s time for a break. No one wants to be thinking about their math homework while watching their new favorite show on Netflix. 
  • Provide proper seating that creates a productive posture for learning! Hips, knees, and ankles should be at 90-degree angles. 
  • Try to pick a place that offers natural light! Place the light behind the workspace so the light isn’t distracting. 
  • Minimize distraction by turning off the phone or placing it on airplane mode. 

3. Take a movement break! Lots and lots of movement breaks!

  • Movement breaks are extremely valuable. Scientists have found that the average learner needs a movement break every 20-30 minutes. 
  • The area in our brain responsible for memories is known as the hippocampus. The hippocampus processes information and creates long term memories, but this can take time! Movement breaks give our brain a chance to process what we just learned and turn that information into a long term memory. Without breaks, our hippocampus can get overwhelmed and miss out on information that we intended to remember. 
  • Physical activity increases oxygen to the brain, which in turn enhances our ability to focus and learn. 
  • Movement breaks can reduce stress, anxiety, and offer a quick sensory break allowing our kids the time and space to regulate their mind and bodies.

What might a movement break look like for e-learing? 

  • Set a timer to go off every 20-30 minutes
  • Start a new timer for 3:00-5:00 minutes (This app is a hit)
  • Pick your exercises
  • Turn up the music and get to moving!

*You can add challenges to make it more difficult such as doing the movement backward, faster, or slower.

Example:

Break #1Bear walks & Jumping Jacks
Break #2Crab walks & Somersaults
Break #3Sit-ups & Bunny hops
Break #4Frog jumps & Log rolls
Break #5Free dance! 
Break #6 Wheelbarrow walk & wall push-ups

Struggling with E-learning

E-learning is new for everyone, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it isn’t going as smoothly as you anticipated. Implement these 3 tips to maximize the benefits of your E-learning experience!  If you want some additional ideas, specific for your child, please schedule a free screening with one of our therapists!

Written by: Katie Estey, OTR/L