Thursday, May 10, 2018

May: Sensory Issues/Sensory Diet for Home

May: Sensory Issues/Sensory Diet for Home

What is a sensory diet? “A “sensory diet” (coined by OT Patricia Wilbarger) is a carefully designed, personalized activity plan that provides the sensory input a person needs to stay focused and organized throughout the day.”  Think about yourself for a moment, imagine sitting in a meeting at work, or waiting in the doctor's office. After a short time you may start to tap your pen, or foot, twirl your hair, crew gum, or bite your nails or pen cap. You are providing sensory stimulation to yourself to help you focus. The same is true when it comes to children.
There are specific types of sensory input; proprioceptive, tactile,visual auditory,vestibular, gustatory and oral motor. It is important to know that an occupational therapist should oversee a sensory diet specific to your child. Too much or too little stimulation at the wrong time of day for your child can defeat the purpose of its calming effects.
Parents often struggle with “picky eaters” at home. Some children may not be tolerant of smells or textures when it comes to eating. There is no trick or easy way to get a “picky eater” to all of the sudden not be a “picky eater”. There are some things you can try. Follow the link below to find out more!

April: Screen Time for Preschoolers

April: Screen Time for Preschoolers
This is a hot topic in the field of education right now. How much time is too much screen time? Does the age of the child determined the appropriate amount? Once the amount is determined,  what counts as screen time? Face time with grandma and grandpa? Homework? Television programs? Educational apps? There are so many “dos and don'ts” when it comes to determining screen time where do parents being?
CNN recently posted an online article on this very topic. The article opens with referring to the American Academy of Pediatrics conference this year hosted presenters on topics of screen time, social media, and cyberbullying. “Previously the Academy set a general screen time limit: no more than two hours in front of the TV for kids over age 2. Today, in a world surrounded by digital media 24/7, defining screen time is difficult.” (CNN 2018). The article goes on to discuss that defining how much screen time is appropriate for every child cannot be a blanket statement. Not every child is the same so for some, two hours may be too much.” AAP identifies screen time as time spent using digital media for entertainment purposes. Other uses of media, such as online homework, don't count as screen time.” (CNN 2018).
Some healthy tips for parents to use at home are to first be aware that you are setting the example to your child when it comes to digital media usage. Model the behavior you want them to use. Try putting your phone down when speaking to your child, be engaged and make eye contact. Try turning off the television or radio during family times likes meals at the table. Set boundaries on when and where media usage is appropriate at home.

Friday, March 2, 2018

March- Learning Through Play

Learning Through Play

Play, according to Webster’s dictionary, is  recreational activity; especially : the spontaneous activity of children. This means, it is unstructured and derived from the interest of the child. A mis-conception to a lot of people is that play is just children having fun. While this is very true they are learning a tremendous amount that will help to develop skills that will assist in their future approaches to learning.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has created a list of five essentials to make play meaningful.
  1. Children make their own decisions.
  2. Children are intrinsically motivated
  3. Children become immersed in the moment
  4. Play is spontaneous
  5. Play is enjoyable
Allowing children to to play allows them to use skills in all developmental areas. Parents can engage children by asking questions, which is an important part of language development in young children. Describing what they are doing, asking them what they are doing, and asking them about what they are going to do next foster the development of critical thinking skills. Play also allows children to use their imagination and lets them use their creativity blossom. Play enhances social skills and stimulates the brain in young developing children. So while play may seem simple, it is crucial in the development of young learners.

Friday, February 2, 2018

February: Teaching Empathy

February: Teaching Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. The ability to understand and relate to someone’s emotions allows people to make a deeper connection. But how do you teach young egocentric children empathy? You can start by talking about emotions. Making sense of your own emotions help build an understanding of where feelings come from. There are many children’s books available on the topic of emotions.
Dr. Michele Borba, author of “Unselfie: Why empathetic kids succeed in our All-About-Me World,” discusses four steps to discussing feelings with your child:
  1. Stop and tune in. -We are often so distracted by the busy world around us, but we need to stop and put our phones away and talk to our children.
  2. Look face-to-face. Good eye contact shows someone you are actually listening. Even small children. Get down on their level, sit on the floor with them while you are talking to them.
  3. Focus on feelings. Give your child a chance to talk about their feelings. Model phrases like “ I feel    when .” Give them different examples of emotions they might be feeling. Point out things you notice to them; such as, “I notice your face looks angry, are you upset about something?” Give them a chance to express their feelings.
  4. Express your feelings. Giving language to feelings and modeling that to your child will be an important first step in their ability to express their own emotions.

Tuning in to your child, discussing emotions, and  modeling how to handle your emotions is the first step to raising empathetic children.

Friday, January 12, 2018


January- Transitions

Transitions in preschool can be very challenging and stressful for both the child and adult. It is important to remember to keep transitions to a minimum and also to provide children with clear expectations. One of the best ways to help make transitions smooth is by providing children with a warning. They are often times engaged in an activity and stopping to move on to a new activity can be disruptive. So providing a warning that this is going to happen will hopefully help minimize behaviors. For example, “In five minutes we are going to stop and clean up for circle time.” This allows children time to finish what they are working on and prepare for what is coming next. It is important to make sure you stick to the time frame and directions given.
Another way to help young children transition is to make it fun. One way to do this might be to play a clean up song or sing a song. Other ways to make transitions fun might include using different movements. For example, maybe your child is avoiding going to bed. After they brush their teeth try having them hop or crawl to bed pretending to be an animal. You might also try using counting. For example, you want your child to stop playing and come to the table for dinner. You would provide them with a warning and then when time is up you ask them to count how many steps they have to take to get to the dinner table.
Transitions occur throughout the day so keeping these strategies in mind will help make things smoother for the child and adult. For more creative ideas how to make transitions fun check out Pinterest!

Friday, January 5, 2018


The Child Mind Institute breaks down the many causes of aggression in children. Some of the causes include mood disorders, psychosis, frustration, impulsivity, conduct disorder, injury, and trauma. It is important to understand where a child’s aggression is coming from before you can treat it. The most common type of aggression found in children ages 4 and 7 is hostile aggression. Hostile aggression can be shown as overt aggression, which entails physical harm or as relational aggression, which entails damaging peer relationships or spreading rumors. Some children will move beyond aggressive behavior and learn how to handle conflict. For those children that continue to use physical aggression there are some steps that caregivers can take to teach young children that violence and aggression are unacceptable.
Caregivers should not model violent or aggressive behavior in front of young children. This includes responding to a child engaging in aggressive behavior. It is important to stay calm and talk to the young children about the inappropriate behavior. This conversation should take place in a calm voice, as soon as the child is calm, and be short and direct about expectations of appropriate behavior.

Parents who find themselves in a violent, dangerous, or abusive relationship can call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to reach The National Domestic Violence Hotline, for crisis help, safety planning, or referrals to local resources.