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Author: J Keenan

Winter Swimming

Winter Swimming

Shake Off Winter Blues in the Pool!

Consider your local pool or aquatic park this winter for all it’s amazing benefits! 

Welcome winter and all it’s fun activities like ice skating, sledding and SWIMMING! The joy of swimming doesn’t have to end when winter begins. Indoor pools are the ultimate good mood booster along with so many other benefits! Open swim, swim lessons, aqua therapy and aquatic parks are amazing ways to get some exercise and a splash of the summer feels during the cold winter months.  

Winter swimming has even more benefits than summer! Here are some cool pool perks!

  • Playing in the water makes us happy! Water is a natural anti-depressent. Prevent “SAD” (seasonal affective disorder), a common syndrome in the winter months. Water submersion stimulates our sensory system, exercise releases endorphins and decreases anxiety. 
  • Master those swim skills! Practicing safety and swimming skills in the winter months will improve skills over the summer.  Motor planning for treading water, breath control, floating and swimming takes practice. Those skills are lost during the winter months and need to be reintroduced for water safety and proficiency. 
  • Create joyful memories! The family that plays together stays together! Exercising with family is not only fun but promotes a healthy lifestyle for your children to follow as they grow older. Promote year long family fitness and a lifelong healthy lifestyle.
  • Water is magic! Water play improves mobility, flexibility, balance, coordination, strength, posture, spatial awareness, endurance, circulation, attention, sensory motor integration and confidence. It decreases pain, muscle spasms, abnormal tone, rigidity, joint compression and stress. 

Concerns of increased illness from winter swimming are common. Check out these pool facts that address common miconceptions of winter swimming. 

  • Only a virus can cause a cold or flu. Viruses are more common in winter months from school and being indoors. Any indoor activity during the winter months increases the chances of catching a virus.   
  • Risk of illness is greatly reduced from a properly maintained pool.
  • Illinois Department of Health enforces rules and regulations for water quality in public pools.
  • Several studies have shown that wet hair along with cold exposure has not been linked to increase illness.  
  • Indoor pool water temperatures must be kept at 77-84 degrees and warm water pools are between 86-92 degrees for safety all year long. 
  • Prevent chills or risk of hypothermia by drying off properly, wearing a hat, and dressing appropriately for the cold weather after a fun winter day at the pool! 

Aqua Therapy is a great way to get started with a life long love of the water in a safe and accepting environment. Ask your pediatric therapist how aqua therapy can benefit your child! https://bdiplayhouse.com/aquatic-therapy/ 

Written By: Dana Bukala, PTA 

 

Pragmatic Language

The Power of Pragmatic Language

Social Language Milestones

Pragmatics is the way we use our language in social settings. For example, how to start a conversation, interpreting body language, understanding different perspectives, and using sarcasm. Pragmatic language is typically learned incidentally (learned through experience) but with some children, it may need to be directly taught. Pragmatic language begins to develop as an infant and continues to grow and form until the high school years. Below is a list of “milestones” to expect along with activities/strategies to enhance social language. 

Infant (3-12 months)

  • Starts making eye contact
  • Reaching 
  • Participates in parallel play (playing next to caregiver, sibling) 
  • Participates vocal turn taking
  • Uses vocalizations to request, protest, express feelings 

Activities: Peek-a-boo, stacking blocks, waving, songs, nursery rhymes

Toddler (12-36 months) 

  • Imitates routines
  • Imitates other children
  • Uses words (12 months)/phrases (18 months)/sentences (30 months) to request, protest, express feelings
  • Asks questions
  • Begins at 18 months
  • Initiates pretend play (ex: playing in toy kitchen, pushing trucks/cars, playing with baby doll)
  • Begins at 18 months
  • Takes two turns in conversation
  • Begins to describe/retell events 
  • Begins to return/initiate greetings by waving 

Activities: Ask questions during pretend play (“What’s baby doing? Where are they going?”), “sabotage” by putting toys out of reach, shared reading activities, scrapbooks to encourage retelling 

Preschool (3-5 years)

  • Uses language for teasing, joking, fantasies 
  • Starts to share with others
  • Joint play with peers (participating in others play schemes, including self in play) 
  • Theory of Mind: Understanding that others have different beliefs 
  • Begins at 4 years
  • Produces narratives as “chain”
  • Takes 4-5 conversational turns 
  • Improves describing skills to repair communication breakdowns
  • Begins to inference/predict 
  • Participates in turn-taking games

Activities: Sequence 3-4 pictures and retell story, give simple riddles (i.e., “This is an animal that lives on the farm and says ‘Moo’”), play “Go Fish” or “Bingo”

School age (5-11 years)

  • Invites others to play 
  • Initiates conversations with familiar topics (ex: school, weather, weekend) 
  • Problem solving (individually and in a group) 
  • Begins 6-8 years old
  • Gives and responds to compliments 
  • Tells and understands jokes of greater complexity 
  • Politely interrupts 
  • Responds to and uses facial expressions (ex: smiles, frowns, looks of surprise) 
  • Recognizes spatial boundaries 

Activities: Practice multiple meaning words, Apples to Apples, Emotion charades, Red Light Green Light 

Middle/High School (11-18 years)

  • Recognizes if listener is interested or bored 
  • Shifts topics during lulls in conversation 
  • Understands difference between friends/acquaintances
  • Engages in collaborative discussions 

Activities: Would You Rather questions, book club, Let’s Talk Conversation Starters

If you notice delays in the way your child is using social language such as having difficulty making friends, understanding body language, or maintaining age-appropriate conversations, schedule a screening with an SLP at BDI Playhouse today!

 

toy

Tis the Toy Season- Toy Guide

‘Tis that time of year again! And all your kids want are toys, toys, toys! This can feel overwhelming when adding to an already large pile of toys in the home setting. Especially when the kids don’t even seem to play with the toys already available!  

Below are some tips and ideas for bringing new toys in this Holiday season. 

1. Balance of educational and choice toys; balance of seated and movement activity gifts

    • Teach your kids from a young age that they may not get everything on their wish list.
    • Provides them with opportunities to learn about toys they may have never seen before.
    • Encourages seated attention or physical activity. 

2. Hide toys and rotate them

    • Hide old toys before new toys come out.
    • When child appears bored of toys that are available, switch toys out with the hidden box of toys. Children will forget about some toys they have, making them feel new and exciting again!
    • Continue this toy rotation as child displays readiness with multiple boxes as options. Allow child to peek into boxes and choose box, if they wish.

3. Incorporate multiple skills per toy

    • Challenge the child to create different ways to use the toy.
    • Model your own creative ways to use the toy
    • Encourage exploration of new toy.

4. Use toy in obstacle course

    • Toys that appear more challenging for a child are great to incorporate into a fun movement activity. This helps break up the challenge and decrease frustration.
    • Great for toys with multiple pieces.
    • Encourages physical activity, especially in those cold months!

5. Keep toys simple

    • Simple toys encourage creativity and imagination!
    • Toys don’t need to have a lot of lights or songs to be fun. These can actually become over-stimulating for a child.
    • Allow child independence for exploring toys with only interrupting activity if unsafe.

6. Favorite educational toy companies

    • These websites allow you the ability to choose toys based on age range so you know what activities are developmentally appropriate for child

If you want some more ideas check out our website or amazon idea page!

 

Preschool: Top 5 Reasons Why Preschool is Important

Questioning whether or not to send your child to preschool? From a therapist perspective, preschool is such an important piece to practicing skills required later down the road. It facilitates structure, independence, social-emotional learning, and the foundation for higher level skills. 

1.  PLAY AT PRESCHOOL

Play is how kids learn! They learn to use their imagination, be creative, socialize with others their age, share, and problem solve when an obstacle arises. It also provides various play experiences through structured and unstructured activities, all of which allow children to build confidence, a sense of self, and critical thinking skills.

2. STRUCTURE

Preschool is where children start to participate in more structured routines like stations, lining up, singing a morning song, or learning the days of the week. Consistent routines are important for understanding expectations, predictability, and at the same time adapt to any changes that may arise. 

3. FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS

Preschool helps you develop: 

      • Fine motor skills (pre-writing strokes, grasp, stringing beads, scissor skills)
      • Visual motor skills (building block structures, coloring)
      • Gross motor skills (catching, jumping, playing on the playground)
      • Communication skills (having conversations with others, identifying colors, asking questions)

4. INDEPENDENCE 

Preschool instills independence and provides an opportunity for children to develop self advocacy skills and personal interests. Within preschool, children start learning how to take responsibility for their actions and provide numerous occasions to complete simple tasks on their own. 

5. SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING

The preschool environment gives children the chance to engage with others, navigate conflict, understand their own emotions, and learn about empathy. Building on these skills at a young age provides children opportunities to grow and reach their full potential and beyond. 

If you find that your child may have trouble in one or more of these areas, reach out to the BDI Playhouse office to schedule a free OT, ST, or PT screen. 

 

Written By: Kiersten Robertson, MOT, OTR/L

 

Reflex

Primitive Reflexes

Primative Reflexes- The Good, The Bad, The Better!

Have you ever tripped and simultaneously reached out your hands to stop the fall? That is your primitive reflexes at work! They are essential as the first line of defense to protect ourselves but they can also be detrimental to our development.

What are primitive reflexes? 

Primitive reflexes are involuntary motor responses present at infancy that facilitate survival. Pediatricians check these reflexes at wellness visits to ensure the nervous system is working properly. It is important that these reflexes are present but it is just as important that these reflexes mature or integrate in early childhood. 

The Good: 

REFLEX

GOOD

Moro Reflex

The startle reflex

A fear response to sudden movements or noise
Hands PullingHead control reflex and the ability to contract our muscles to sit up
Hands SupportingOur falling reflex. Ability to reach out and catch yourself.
Tonic Labyrinthine (TLR)Develops balance and spatial awareness
STNRHead, limbs and balance system connection
Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR):  Differentiates our left and right side.
Spinal GalantConnects the trunk and lower body
AmphibianActivates nerves between both hemispheres of the brain
Babinski:Supports mature walking and balance
BabkinTongue and mouth coordination for eating and speaking
PlantarProtective response to provide stability
PalmarAdvances fine motor movements of fingers.
Landau Promotes ability to control head in tummy time

Why do reflexes need to integrate?

We unconsciously use these reflexes everyday, but what happens when we are unable to consciously control them? That’s what happens when reflexes don’t integrate. It’s like being in a self driving car and not being able to take control of the wheel, which can be very scary. Sometimes our reflexes do not mature because of abnormal movement patterns in utero or infancy, neurological deficits, or just unknown reasons. These primitive neuro connections are powerful and can inhibit our ability to voluntarily control our body and mind if they are retained.

How do reflexes affect development?

A retained reflex can present in strange ways causing possible behavioral, emotional, sensory and physical deficts. Not all reflexes present the same way in every person but they do have common patterns. The infant’s movements work together in sequence during development. If one reflex does not integrate it can cause others to also be retained. It is not uncommon to see two, three, or almost all the reflexes present during a primitive reflex evaluation. The following are common traits you might see if reflexes are retained.   

The Bad- Unintegrated Primative Reflexes

REFLEX

GOOD

BAD

Moro Reflex

The startle reflex

A fear response to sudden movements or noise
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Insecure
  • Sensitive to light
  • Sound and/or touch
  • Emotional
  • Common in toe walkers 
Hands PullingHead control reflex and the ability to contract our muscles to sit up
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Poor hand, eye, and mouth coordination
  • Delayed gross and fine motor movements 
Hands SupportingOur falling reflex. Ability to reach out and catch yourself.
  • Clumsy
  • Poor personal boundaries
  • Aggressive
  • Avoids interactions
  • Difficulty processing information
Tonic Labyrinthine (TLR)Develops balance and spatial awareness
  • Motion sickness
  • Poor sense of time and organizational skills
  • Coordination difficulty
  • Spatial and balance problem
STNRHead, limbs and balance system connection
  • Crawling difficulty
  • Low muscle tone
  • Slumps while seated
  • Difficulty copying tasks
  • Poor attention
  • W sits 
Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR):  Differentiates our left and right side.
  • Challenged with crossing midline
  • Difficulty catching
  • Focus and memory difficulty
  • Auditory challenges
  • Dyslexia
Spinal GalantConnects the trunk and lower body
  • Postural deficits
  • Hip rotation effecting gait
  • Hyperactive
  • Fatigues with cognitive functions
  • Bed wetting
AmphibianActivates nerves between both hemispheres of the brain
  • Rigid movements
  • Limited stride length
  • Poor coordination
  • No rotational movement
  • No hand dominance
Babinski:Supports mature walking and balance
  • Tripping
  • Stabilizes with tongue
  • Oral motor and articulation deficits
  • Flat feet
  • Walks on toes or sides of feet 
BabkinTongue and mouth coordination for eating and speaking
  • Open mouth posture
  • Poor mouth coordination
  • Lacks facial expression
  • Speech delay
  • Sensory chewer 
PlantarProtective response to provide stability
  • Grasping hands
  • Poor running/jumping
  • One sided crawl
  • Standing delay
  • Fight/flight response to loss of balance.
PalmarAdvances fine motor movements of fingers. 
Landau Promotes ability to control head in tummy time
  • Poor posture
  • Clumsy
  • High tone in legs
  • Visual challenges
  • Depression and fears
  • Poor focus and balance

 

The Better: 

It is extremely common to have one or more reflexes present and you might even identify some of these traits in yourself. That does not mean it needs to be treated unless the reflex is so dominant that it interferes with the ability to learn, be safe and thrive. Reflex therapy helps to identify and create an individualized reflex exercise program to promote integration. The brain responds by taking the wheel and improves control over it’s own mind and body. Now that’s better!

 

If you think your child may have primitive reflexes present we can help! Free primitive reflex screenings are available via Zoom or in person at our Orland Park or Naperville/Aurora locations. 

Back to School

Back to School Transition Strategies

Back to School Emotions

August means back to school is right around the corner!  Back to school means transitioning to new schools, new teachers, new peers, new expectations and new routines! Many kids are excited about the anticipation of a new school year, but for many kiddos “new” can be scary and worrisome. 

Children can communicate their emotions through a variety of behaviors. It’s important as parents and caregivers to be aware of these behaviors to help our kiddos manage their emotions and provide opportunity for a successful transition back to school!

The best way to help our kiddos with new tasks is by creating predictability and maintaining consistency in their routines.  This will help ease their worry and fear while building their confidence for success.

 Simple Strategies to Help Back to School Transition: 

Waking and Bedtime Schedule

We all fall into the summer slump of less structure and organization in the routine of our days. Beginning at least a month prior to the first day of school, begin  implementing a waking and bedtime schedule that will mirror your child’s school time routine.

Visual calendar count down

Time is a vague concept for young kids, so counting the “number of sleeps” until school starts is a meaningful way to incorporate how many days until the first day of school.

Social Stories

Read social stories and talk about expectations for the new school year.  Don’t forget to highlight important details that you know they are looking forward to (including a favorite teacher, familiar classmates, exciting activities they are looking forward to that year), but also recognize and discuss novel tasks that may cause stress (such as attending at a new building, bus rides, lunchtime, whatever it may be).

New Peer Playdates

Reach out to local parent/community groups to set-up park meet-ups/ playdates to become familiar with new peers.

Trial Run

Do a trial run before school starts. Drive by your child’s school to create familiarity.  Is there a park accessible to play at? Go play to create positive experiences associated with the school. This will help to see where you might have some bumps getting on the road and need to tweek parts of your morning routine.

Label feelings

Validate their feelings. Use visuals when you can. Provide your child with a ‘toolbox” of calming strategies to attain/maintain a feeling of calmness throughout their day.

Model Confidence

Model your confidence to make them feel confident (even if you have to fake it); kids feed off of our emotions. This includes talk enthusiastically about what a positive experience this will be, avoid lingering at drop-offs and encourage participation in new activities.

Back to School Mantra

Create a mantra to repeat out loud.  “I am safe” is one of my favorites!

List of Resources

Below are a list of resourceful links to provide more information about typical/atypical behaviors, countdown calendars, addressing feelings and visuals for calming strategies:

  1. Managing Behavior Strategies
  2. Social Story
  3. Journals
  4. Emotions for Kids
  5. Back to School Countdown

Don’t forget, what may seem like a minor problem to us as adults, feels like a BIG problem to our kiddos, especially when they are learning to recognize and handle their big emotions.  Make the experience easier for them by  remaining calm if things do not go as planned, or their reactions don’t meet our expectations. Don’t forget to model flexibility to bumps in routines.  Also,  remember that changes don’t happen overnight and give your child time to settle into their new routines! If things don’t get easier and you would like some additional strategies, please schedule a screening with one of our therapists to help find individualized strategies for you and your child.

Written by Jamie Blough

Middle School Picky Eater

Middle School Picky Eater

Are you a middle school parent on the fence about whether or not to try feeding therapy for your picky eater?  At BDI Playhouse, we work with middle schoolers both in the clinic or from the comfort of your own home.  We help kiddos with a variety of feeding needs such as increasing their caloric or nutritive intake without the need to supplement all the way to eating chicken at your neighborhood BBQ or pizza with their friends after a sports activity and anything in between.    

The best part about doing feeding therapy with older kiddos, in our opinion, is that they can tell us what they are feeling and thinking when it comes to food and they can be active participants in setting (and achieving) their own goals.  

Here are a few thoughts from a middle schooler in feeding therapy:

What’s the best part of doing feeding therapy?

I get to try foods that I haven’t tried before and that I am interested in trying.  I like doing it at food therapy because more than one person gets to see my reaction and I get to talk and chat!  

What’s the best part of doing food therapy online?

You can do food therapy and not worry about the virus.  Whenever I am at home, I don’t have to wait until my parents drive me home, I get to do whatever I want as soon as the session is done.

What would you tell a kiddo your age if they were on the fence about trying feeding therapy?  

The more therapy that you do the more excited you will get to try new foods.  

What’s your favorite thing you’ve done in feeding therapy?

I got to try a food from a show (dalgona cookies from Squid Games).  We also get to do “challenges” where we pick a food and try different flavors of it!  We had a candy night and tried all different candies.  We’ve done a poptart night and tried 8 different flavors of pop tarts.  We make food together.

Still on the fence of whether it would be a good fit for your kiddo?  Schedule a free screening with one of our feeding therapists to learn more about how we can help your middle school kiddo learn to love trying new foods!

reading

Reading Difficulties in Children

The Orton-Gillingham Approach

The path to reading for some children is not often an easy one. It is assumed that children will begin to read and spell naturally.  However, some children may persistently struggle with learning the process of how to read fluently.

Children who demonstrate challenges early on with word recognition, poor spelling, weakened decoding skills, and difficulty with their handwriting may continue to present with deficits within the areas of listening, reading, writing, and speaking, if intervention is not received.

There are numerous reading programs geared toward helping emergent readers as well as older children who are struggling using a more traditional approach to reading.  The Orton-Gillingham Approach was established to help provide a more systematic approach to reading, specifically for children with dyslexia. Research has shown that children without specific learning disabilities could also benefit from this approach in order to help them overcome their specific challenges. 

What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

The Orton-Gillingham Approach focuses on the five critical areas of reading:

  1. Phonemic Awareness
  2. Phonics
  3. Fluency
  4. Vocabulary
  5. Comprehension

The approach implements a multi-sensory approach by integrating the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic pathways to more efficiently teach children the rules and sequence of reading.

The Orton-Gillingham approach to reading follows a specific format to help teach these language skills and patterns in a systematic way. Orton-Gillingham begins with teaching the individual sounds.  Then it focuses on building words. By doing so, the child visually sees the letters, hears the sounds, then writes the letters.  Thereby, using a multisensory technique that includes these three sensory pathways.  This is referred to as the “language triangle”.

The specific lessons are flexible based upon the child’s level of functioning. They continue to build from simple to complex, as the children are taught the specific rules of language, such as spelling and decoding certain patterns in text. This ultimately helps to build upon their mastery. It leads to automaticity when reading, since there is a continual review of previously learned material during the sessions. The children cannot progress to the next level until they master certain lessons and drills. 

Early Indicators of Reading Difficulties

Teachers and parents will often recognize challenges with pre-reading skills in kindergarten, though some children may not demonstrate weaknesses with reading until after the second grade. Some early indicators of reading difficulties may include:

  • Family history of dyslexia or reading difficulty 
  • Weakened phonemic awareness skills
  • Decreased skill blending sounds and reduced comprehension of rhymes
  • Difficulty with letter and sound recognition 
  • Letter reversals (b-d) and inversions (w-m)
  • Lack of interest or avoidance of reading 
  • Dysfluent speech
  • Articulation errors: substitutions, omissions, cluster reduction  
  • Word retrieval difficulties
  • Frequent spelling errors 
  • Omitting words when reading 
  • Decreased processing speed when verbally responding 
  • Inconsistent memory and recall  
  • Poor executive functioning skills 
  • Weak handwriting skills 
  • Reduced auditory and/or reading comprehension 

Later Indicators of Reading Difficulties

Older children may present with language processing difficulties, as well as persistent challenges regarding their reading fluency, comprehension, handwriting, grammar, and spelling. Additionally, these children may have progressed with reading but continue to demonstrate deficits with clearly expressing their thoughts and ideas, therefore writing, vocabulary, and conversational skills may continue to be weak even years after they have acquired adequate reading skills.

Therefore, a more customized approach is warranted for these children to help them better succeed using strategies that will compliment the specific way they learn. By implementing the specific strategies using the Orton-Gillingham approach, children will continue to build upon their confidence and interest in reading by providing them with the skills they need in order to become more successful and proficient readers.  Does your child struggle?  Schedule a free screening with our Orton-Gillingham trained SLP.

Written by Meghan Grant, M.S. CCC-SLP

Sleeping in crib

Sleeping Safe Baby

It’s getting chilly out there! Are you wondering how to keep your baby warm and safe while sleeping? Here is a quick guide on how to keep your baby safe while sleeping in warm and cold weather!

4 simple steps

1. Place your baby on their BACK during naps and at night.

2. Use a firm mattress in a safety approved crib.
3. No bedding, pillows, bumpers, toys, and stuffed animals in the crib.

4. Baby can share your room but NOT your bed.

sleep arrangement

These simple steps are recommended for any season and time of the year by the CDC and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Always remember! BACK to sleep & TUMMY to play! Click here for more information about the importance of Tummy Time!

Can my baby sleep in a swing or car seat?

Consumer Reports states, “car seats are safe for travel, not prolonged sleep. Parents and caregivers should feel confident that using an infant car seat is essential in a car, but a baby shouldn’t be left unattended in a car seat, it shouldn’t be your baby’s primary sleep space.”
If your baby falls asleep in their car seat, swing, bouncer or any other place that is not a flat firm surface, it is recommended to gently remove your baby from the “container” and place them in a safe sleep space. This allows your baby to move naturally which is essential to typical development. “Container” sleeping is not only unsafe for prolonged sleeping but linked to primitive reflex integration deficits, torticollis, visual deficits, plagiocephaly, toe walking, and delayed milestones.
 

Is my baby warm enough?

To determine if your baby is too warm or cold, feel their chest or back of their neck. They should be warm, not hot, clammy or sweaty. Babies have poor circulation so hands, feet, cheeks, and ears can be cool to the touch during sleep and does not necessarily mean they need more layers. The ideal temperature for a baby’s room to sleep in is between 68-72F (20-22C).

Can my baby wear a hat, socks or mittens?

No, it is not recommended for baby to have any clothing that can come loose to avoid suffocation. Hats are not necessary if baby is dressed appropriately for temperature. Mittens should be avoided as babies use their touch to learn and self soothe. You can clip or file nails often to avoid scratches. Footy PJ’s are a great alternative to keeping baby toes warm.

Can my baby have a blanket?

No. To reduce risk of suffocation avoid using blankets or ANY soft items in the crib. Instead use a sleepsack which is a blanket that baby wears. Be sure to look at the TOG rating of the garment to assess which sleepsack should be used depending on the room temperature. Remember to dress baby for the room temperature and not the temperature outside. It is suggested that you get a room thermometer because baby monitor temperatures can be inconsistent. What is a TOG rating? Thermal Overall Grade (TOG) is a standardized unit of measurement that calculates the thermal insulation of warmth of a textile. Keep in mind every baby is different and always check your baby for warmth with touch as described above. This chart is a general reference of how to dress baby with a sleepsack depending on the temperature.

According to the CDC, In 2019, there were approximately 1,250 deaths due to SIDS, approximately 1,180 deaths due to unknown causes, and approximately 960 deaths due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.  Take these simple steps are the best known ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and allow baby to sleep safely and comfortably.  If you are concerned about your baby’s sleep, tummy time, feeding or any other infant development reach out to your pediatrician and your local pediatric therapists. Have questions?  Schedule an appointment with a pediatric therapist for a free infant screening at BDI playhouse!
Written by: Dana Bukala, PTA
Healthier Garden

Small Steps for a Healthier Life

Worried about your child’s health related to weight?  “The most common causes of childhood weight issues are are genetic factors or family history of obesity; decreased participation in physical activities; unhealthy eating patterns or behaviors; and, in rare cases, medical conditions.” – AOTA.  Do you have concerns about your child? Getting healthier doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Making small changes in activity level and making healthier food choices are a great way to start feeling good and reducing weight related illness.

What can I do to start making healthy changes?

Healthier Park

  • Make conscious decisions about your activities. Start with making small changes like:
  • Adding a little movement to morning routine to get body ready for the day like animal walks or a walk around the block
  • Encourage activities your child and family enjoy. Do you like to dance or play sports?
  • Adapt evening routine to decrease screen time and prepare body for sleep like doing some fun yoga stretches 

 

 

 

 

Healthier Raspberries

How can you make mealtime fun and healthy?

  • Make mealtime a valued time for socializing and sharing
  • Eat dinner together as often as possible
  • Make small swaps for healthier meals like quinoa for white rice
  • Let the kids select a healthy menu and help make it 
  • Add some fun with trying a new fruit or vegetable

 

How to get some quality Zzzz’s? 

Healthier Sleep

  • Provide time for lots of movement throughout the day
  • Keep a consistent wake-up time every morning, and nap time for little ones
  • Have a consistent bedtime routine every night 
  • Decrease screen time in the evening at least 1-2 hours before bed
  • Mealtime should be at least 1-2 hours before bedtime and include complex carbohydrates (fruits, veggies and whole grains)
  • Reduce simple carbohydrates like candy, cakes, cookies, juice, soda
  • Check temperature of room not too hot and more on the cooler side
  • Dim the lights, if child needs a nightlight use a pink light bulb
  • Make sure pj’s are comfortable, not itchy
  • Use white noise to drown other environmental sounds
  • Use lavender or vanilla essential oils for calming scents

Getting healthier doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Making small changes in activity level and making healthier food choices are a great way to start feeling good and reducing weight related illness. If you need support for a healthier lifestyle 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 Aurora and Orland Park, IL.  Our occupational therapists can help you curate culturally appropriate healthy food preparation and meal ideas as well as identify enjoyable physical and social activities for you and your child.

Written by Jessica Frederick, COTA/L

Healthier Climb
Healthier Carrots