Monday, April 28, 2008

Working therapy into every day

I don't know about you but as the parent of two preemies, I have always felt this enormous pressure to constantly be working with my kids on various developmental skills. Both of my kids have been or were in physical and developmental therapy for several years. The amount of things to work on can seem long and never ending. Trying to fit therapy time/skill building into your day can seem impossible but it can be done. Here are some tips to get therapy time into every day.

1) Play time is therapy time - Preemies spend a lot of time playing. Play time is the absolute perfect time to work on various developmental and physical skills. I normally try and work on one particular skill at a time. My daughter is currently working on trying to crawl so as soon as she is on her tummy I pull her into a crawl position and let her work on that for a few minutes before she starts playing with her toys independently. If you are working on teaching your preemie how to "share" objects than sit in front of him/her and start giving him/her toys and then asking for them back. Trying out one skill at a time throughout the day can go a long way towards helping your preemie develop and help you keep your sanity.

2) It's all in the set-up - If your preemie is working on a specific skill, set-up his/her toys to help facilitate that. For example, if your preemie is learning how to look from one side or the other - place his/her toys so that he/she has to look one way to see them. Put toys farther away if you want your preemie to try and reach for toys or move towards them.

3) Set a timer - We all get busy with the demands of life so it can be hard to remember to actively work with our preemie on something. If you need a small reminder than set a timer. When it goes off that is your cue to work with your preemie on something specific.

4) Short periods of time - You don't need to constantly work with your preemie on various skills. Most preemies do better if they only have short amounts of time where they are actively having to work on something. It also helps them remember a skill if they work on it several times in a day rather than a long period of time once a day. Work with your preemie a little and then let him/her play independently.

5) Sibling help - Older siblings can be a great help for teaching your preemie new skills and working with them on certain things. My son is four and a half and he is my daughter's favorite form of entertainment. I have often asked my son to come over and play a game with my daughter so that she stays interested and continues working on a particular skill. He loves to see her try new things as much as I do so he is also a great cheerleader for her.

No comments: