Occupational Therapy tips: making home life easier during school term
At Cooee Speech Pathology, our brisbane north Occupational Therapists work with kids and their families to help daily routines and events flow more smoothly, especially during the school term.
What are Cooee’s top tips for making life at home easier?
- Predictability – in routines, how you make changes to a routine and your responses
Routine – Keeping a routine helps develop predictability for how each day will start. It allows your child to anticipate what is coming and what they will be expected to do.
Changes to Routine – Show changes in the form your child will understand, a visual list, a verbal download, or talking about the next day with the change before bed.
Responses to Your Child – If a different response is given to a behaviour or event every time, the child cannot be sure which response is going to be given, therefore their behaviours may be unpredictable and feel hard to support. This also makes it hard for them to relax and regulate their body and emotions.
- Regulation – navigating big moments easier through neural wifi and modelling
Neural wifi – you know that moment when you interact with someone that is flustered then you feel flustered, this is neural wifi. As parents or significant adults, you can create a regulated wifi for your children to access.
When you, as parents, can regulate your behaviour and emotions, your children can watch you to form a blueprint for how they can regulate themselves.
Modelling – Talking through your emotions and what is happening in your body and using a think out loud what options you have (I could yell and scream but that probably isn’t helpful OR I could take a big breathe, let it all out, do a wiggle and figure out what next, that will be helpful), can model a blueprint for your child in how they can navigate their own big feelings and responses to events.
- Playfulness – filling their emotional tank so they can try new things
Playing with your child for a few minutes a day, fills their emotional tank. When your child’s emotional tank is full they are more able to use helpful strategies to regulate, and more likely to do something you would like them to do.
In a world where we fill our lives with technology and things we just have to do, we need to take a step back and just play with our children. This includes video games or art or any activity (or occupation) where your child can express themselves and explore their options.
Play is essential for learning, developing literacy skills, developing social skills and problem solving. All of these will help make your home life easier by building capacity in your little (or not so little) one.
For more – check out our Occupational Therapist blogs on play!
Written in 2019 by Hanna Corfield (Occupational Therapist).
Edited in 2023 by Hanna Corfield.