How to get the most out of OT
This goes without saying - one to two hours a month of OT isn’t enough to make long lasting neurological changes. The only way to make positive changes are by making changes at home, and being consistent about them. I've compiled a list of changes that you can make (overtime) at home to support your child and allow them to get the most out of their sessions at adaptABLE Occupational Therapy.
1. Do your (OT) homework
This is one of the most important things you need to do when you start OT. While it’s true that taking a break can be beneficial every once in a while, overall you need to be consistent with the homework that I give you. Regular completion of the homework will lead to faster and longer lasting results. Doing exercises with me 1-2x a month is not enough to make changes.
2. Decrease screen time
You’ve heard me say this time and time again, but decreasing the amount of screen time that your child has will help overall. Children younger than two should not have any screen time; children 2-5 years old should have no more than one hour a day; and children older than 5 years old should have no more than two hours a day. Talk to me if you’re struggling with decreasing your child’s screen time.
3. Drink lots of water
Make sure your child is well hydrated and drinking lots of water. Send them to school with a water bottle and encourage them to drink from it throughout the day. Dehydrated brains and bodies are sluggish, slow to make new neural connections and cranky!
4. Eat well
Proper vitamins and nutrients are vital for cellular and gut health. Make sure your child is getting lots of fruits and veggies and has limited access to sugar. Many of our hormones and neurotransmitters are made in our gut, and without proper levels of these, we tend to be dysregulated in one way or another. A dietician or naturopath can provide you with more information on how to keep your child’s gut healthy and happy.
5. Work on your own stress
Children are sponges that pick up every emotion from the adults they spend most of their time with. Instead of immediately reacting to a behaviour, *try* to take a moment and plan your response. If you find that you are struggling with stress, anxiety or anger issues, try making changes or seeing a counsellor to assist you in dealing with this. You’d be surprised the influence it has on your kid(s)!
6. Play outside
Nature is a natural regulator; if you’re feeling low, it makes you happier, if you’re feeling stressed, it calms you down. Spending 1-2 hours outside a day can have a huge impact on your child – even in the winter! Just make sure they dress for the weather.
7. Focus on sleep
Sleep is when our bodies and brains process the information of the day, repair damage and build new structures. Without proper sleep, none of this can happen. It’s also very important to stick to a regular sleep schedule – going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day. Speak to your doctor if your child coughs, snores or stops breathing while sleeping.