at-home therapy activities

New Year’s Resolutions – Ways to Work On Your Child’s Development Without the Pressure
New Year’s Resolutions – Ways to Work On Your Child’s Development Without the Pressure 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Happy New Year from all of us at Pediatric Therapy Network! The new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past year while also setting goals and resolutions for the year ahead. The most common New Year’s resolutions that we typically hear from our PTN parents is that they would like to make more time to work on their child’s therapeutic goals in order to support their development, but struggle to find the time during their busy day to day lives.

2020 brought a new and unique challenge to this equation as work and school moved to virtual platforms and everyone was at home together.  Working from home while also helping your child with their virtual learning and therapy can be overwhelming – trust us, we get it! Parents have a lot on their plates, which is why the therapy team at PTN tries to provide therapeutic strategies that can be easily incorporated into families busy schedules. Believe it or not, many physical, occupational, and speech therapy activities can be incorporated into your daily routines, allowing you to work on your child’s development without the pressure. 

With that said, here are some of our favorite ways to work on your child’s development without becoming overwhelmed or stressed out:

Get Your Child Involved in Cooking Meals

There are so many opportunities for your child to get involved while you’re cooking!  Cooking together is a great way to help support your child’s development and they’ll love being your sous chef. Some ways to get your child involved include asking them questions about the food that you’re cooking such as, “what item is this?” or “what color is this?”, allowing them to help mix and measure ingredients, or having your little one grab the ingredients that you need – the possibilities are endless!

Burn Off Some Energy

During your next workout, get your kiddo involved and have them do their own “mini workout” in the process. One way to do this is to set up an obstacle course for them with items around the house such as buckets, pillows, and hula hoops, and have them try to beat their best time over and over again until your workout is complete.

Another option would be to turn on a fun music playlist or video that features fun songs for kids, and have a dance party together! The best part about this activity is that it will allow your child to burn off some of their energy in the process. 

Clean Up Around the House

We’ve found that little kids love to help with chores. It gives them the chance to feel grown up and they love the fact that they get to work alongside their mom/dad. Some easy tasks you can give them that include sweeping, wiping down the table, sorting silverware, feeding the family pet, vacuuming, or cleaning up their toys. Our favorite part about this activity is that it will take some stress off of you now that you’ll have an extra pair of hands to help.

Times are tough for many families right now, and the last thing you want to do is put more stress on your shoulders. After all, you truly are doing a wonderful job! 

Follow us on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) all month long for more suggestions on ways to work on your child’s development without the pressure, or feel free to contact us at any time. Our team of pediatric therapists are here to support both you and your child in any way that we can.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy: Improving Your Child’s Development in a Home Setting
The Benefits of Physical Therapy: Improving Your Child’s Development in a Home Setting 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Physical therapy has been used for many years to help both adults and children with items such as treatment and rehab for chronic conditions, preventative care, injuries, and so much more. It has the power to change so many lives in a positive manner, and it can truly make a difference when it comes to helping your child improve strength, stability, and confidence in order to meet their motor milestones and engage with family and friends. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families whose children work with a physical therapist have had to make the transition from in-person therapy to teletherapy which is new for a lot of people. If you’re considering telehealth services but  are nervous that  your child isn’t going to get the most out of these therapy sessions there’s no need to worry! With a focus on parent education and coaching, our teletherapy sessions have been very successful and can be just as effective as in-person therapy.  Please contact us directly if you’d like to learn more!  

With that said, and seeing as October is National Physical Therapy Month, we wanted to share some of the benefits of physical therapy for your child (especially while working on their skills in a home setting), along with some fun physical therapy related activities that you can do with your kiddos:

What Are Some of the Benefits of Physical Therapy For Children?

Though there are many benefits of physical therapy for your child, here are some of the main benefits:

  • Strengthens muscles
  • Builds endurance
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Increases range of motion
  • Supports achievement of motor milestones and overall mobility skills 

How Can a Physical Therapist Help a Child Who is Demonstrating Developmental Delays?

A physical therapist will be able to assess your child’s physical development to determine if gross motor delays are present. They will explain what factors are contributing to these delays and work with you to come up with a plan to improve these areas. In addition to a detailed evaluation, this plan will include activities that you can incorporate into your child’s daily routine to help support their development.  

How Can Therapy in a Home Setting be Beneficial to Children? 

Children thrive in their skill development when they are in a place that they feel safe, happy, and comfortable. For most children, this place is usually their own house. They tend to be more focused, determined, and excited to improve their skills while at home because they are familiar with their surroundings, and they are around the people they love most – their family! It is also easier for caregivers to carry out home exercise activities when they are incorporated into their daily routines. 

What Are Some Fun Gross MotorActivities That I Can Do With My Child At Home?

  • Bean Bag Toss: This is an activity that your kiddos will love. Holding and then throwing the weighted bean bags will help to work on your child’s strength and coordination as they try to get their bean bag into the target hole. If you don’t already have a bean bag set, we suggest this set that’s made just for kids.
  • Fly Like Superman: This activity works on your child’s core strength and coordination and allows your child to use their imagination in the process. Have your child lay on their tummy and tell them to try and lift their arms and chest off of the ground so that they’re “flying like superman”. To make this activity even more fun, try it on a swing or give your child a cape and tell them that they’re flying to go save the world!
  • Painter’s Tape Balance Beam: Get some painter’s tape and create three “balance beams” on your floor. You can have one balance beam be in a straight line, one in a zig-zag line, and one in a circle shape. Have your child try to walk on each beam without falling off to the side to work on their balance and coordination.

If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate this month and spread the word about the benefits of physical therapy, the American Physical Therapy Association has great resources that you can check out, including graphics that you can use on your social media as your cover photo or profile picture.

At-Home Therapy Activities That Use Your Child’s Favorite Stuffed Animal
At-Home Therapy Activities That Use Your Child’s Favorite Stuffed Animal 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

When you were a kid, what was the one item that you always had to have with you? Was it a blanket? A toy? Well, for a majority of our staff here at PTN, our special item was a stuffed animal. It’s very common that children have a favorite item, and more times than not, you’ll notice that this item is indeed a stuffed animal. This is because stuffed animals bring on a sense of comfort and joy, and they make it easier for children to express themselves, which makes them the perfect learning tool during therapy sessions.

Using your child’s favorite stuffed animal during at-home therapy can be extremely beneficial as it will keep your kiddos motivated and excited to develop their skills. The best part? Your little one will be ecstatic to be learning with their best stuffed animal friend, by their side.

With that said – and in honor of September 9th being National Teddy Bear Day – we wanted to share some of our favorite at-home therapy activities that use your child’s favorite stuffed animal. Enjoy!

Create a Story 

This activity gives your child the opportunity to be creative while working on their speech development. Sit down with your kiddo and ask them some questions about their stuffed animal such as, “What’s your stuffed animal’s name? Where does your stuffed animal want to go? What’s your stuffed animal’s superpower?”. 

As they’re telling you the answers to the questions, write each answer down on a separate sheet of paper. Once you’re all done asking questions, get ready to help your child create their very own book. Your child will be able to work on their grip strength by coloring each answer page with an image that fits the text, and once they’re done, they’ll have their very own book based on their stuffed animal!

Partake in Sensory Play 

Another great way to use your child’s stuffed animal is for sensory play. Kids (especially toddlers and babies) love to explore different textures, and most stuffed animals have numerous textures on them. For example, if the stuffed animal is a cat, it may have prickly whiskers, soft or fuzzy fur, and hard eyes. Let your child touch each texture one at a time while you ask them to describe what it feels like – soft, hard, fuzzy, rough, bumpy, etc. 

Play Dress Up

Your child will absolutely love being able to use their imagination while dressing up their stuffed animal, and you’ll love this activity because it works on your child’s fine and gross motor skills. You and your kiddo can make up stories about where their stuffed animal is going, and then, they’ll dress up their stuffed animal to fit the story. For example, if you both decide that the stuffed animal is going to a ball, your child could dress their furry friend in a dress or suit, and if you both decide that the stuffed animal is going to a beach, your child could dress their furry friend in shorts and a t-shirt. Your child will have so much fun looking through all of the clothing options and will be entertained for hours on end.

You can find dress up clothes that will fit your child’s stuffed animal on Amazon, at toy stores, or, you can make them yourself!

Let Your Child Be a Caretaker

Allowing your child to take care of their stuffed animal will bring out their nurturing side, and will allow them to work on their fine motor skills, speech, and gross motor skills. You can have your child feed their stuffed animal, give them a pretend bath, place a bandaid on any owies they may have, or put their furry friend to bed – the possibilities are endless! The best part about this activity? Your child will learn responsibility and compassion in the process. 

Be sure to keep an eye on our social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest) all month long as we share additional activities.

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