Christmas Gift Guide
The countdown is on for the excitement of the Christmas season! We have put together a few inspired ideas for gifts for the holidays. Happy shopping!
Our Top Tips for Starting School
Is your child starting school next year? Are you wondering what you can start doing now to support their school transition? Here are our top tips to help your child be more independent as they start school.
You, Your Child and Pretend Play!
Pretend play, symbolic play, imaginative play, make-believe play, or fantasy play involves the use of items, toys and people to represent something different in play (Stagnitti, 2011; Aspect, 2015). With so much time past since being a child, it isn’t surprising to find yourself as a parent feeling a little out of touch with being playful! This can leave us feeling unsure how to join our children in play.
Maintaining an efficient pencil grasp is an important step in writing so that you child can write legibly and for an expected period of time. Ideally, by five to six years of age, we would like to see a child using a tripod pencil grasp. This is when the pencil is held between the thumb, index and middle fingers with the index finger and thumb forming an open space. Movement comes from the finger tips.
One of the best ways to get your kids looking forward to the upcoming school year and support them to be organised, is to get them the perfect pencil case. But, wow isn’t there plenty to choose from! Children often want the most colourful, extravagant and bold pencil cases. Pencil cases with zippers, glitter, images or animals and many compartments. But did you know your child’s pencil case may be hindering their learning, attention and organisational skills?
Supporting a child’s independence in occupations they need or want to do is at the core of the Occupational Therapist role. Completing household chores, such as food preparation, cleaning and gardening, supports independence with living skills. However, did you know that evidence suggests completing household chores can also improve a child’s executive functioning? We bet that caught your attention! Perhaps having your child help with chores around the house can be a win-win after all.
Children use fine motor skills to participate in a range of occupations. For example, self-care tasks such as buttoning clothing or tying shoelaces and classroom tasks such as writing and cutting all involve the development and use of fine motor skills. Whilst there are numerous toys that can support your child to develop their fine motor skills, you don’t need to look any further than what you already have around your home!
Therapists are frequently being asked by parents about the role of technology in their child’s learning. Evidence suggests that sedentary screen time can have long term impacts on development, such as children having shorter attention spans and finding it harder to learn to read. That is why it is important to be aware of the recommended screen time for different ages and how to use technology as a tool to create learning opportunities.
“Getting my child to practice handwriting is so challenging!” Does this sound like the words were taken out of your mouth? Engaging children in handwriting can be made easier with fun activities that spark their interest. That is why we have made a list of five, fun activities that you can do at home! So, if your Occupational Therapist has given your child strategies, whether that be to improve their pencil grasp, letter formation, writing on the line, letter heights or letting sizing (just to name a few areas of handwriting!), or you are just looking to help your child with their handwriting practice, you can give these activities a go. Continue Reading…
A positive mindset is essential for kids’ success and goal achievement. Many health professionals and teachers help kids develop a positive frame of mind by using a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the idea that our traits can be nurtured and we can learn from mistakes. It teaches that we can achieve goals with effort and persistence rather than innate ability. It helps us approach challenges, mistakes and set-backs as a learning opportunity or simply as a sign that we should keep trying. Kids feel empowered and confident to try their hardest when they know they are able to grow their brains and improve their abilities! Continue Reading…
What a year it has been! If there is any silver lining to the year we have had, it’s the desire to get back to the simple things in life like visiting family and spending time with friends at the local cafe. Now more than ever, we could all use a bit of the wonderful magic of Christmas to boost our spirits and remind us of the good times, past, present and future! For those in need of some inspiration on how to spread the Christmas cheer, look no further than the gift list below, specially curated by our Qualia OT’s.
5 Tips for Supporting Your Child to get to Sleep
We all know that one of the first things to go out the window during uncertain and stressful times is a good night’s sleep. For our children, this is no different. During these tricky times, it is likely that we are all finding it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, whether this is difficulty winding down to go to sleep, or sleeping all the way through the night. Here are some tips to help support kids when a good night’s sleep is seeming elusive.
Why is your child’s posture important when writing?
Good posture allows your child’s body to remain in a functional upright position, with adequate alignment of their spine. Good posture is really important for activities at the desk such as handwriting.
Play was a quintessential part of all our childhoods, yet as we get older, we can find it hard to recreate the same magic that we could as children. Play is an important occupation for your child, as it helps them develop many skills including communication, social skills, emotional understanding, literacy, problem solving and conflict resolution. Caregivers have an important role in supporting play development. By playing with your child, you can promote new ideas and activities, and provide a safe space for exploring new opportunities.
At a time when our kids are experiencing so much disruption to their routines and so many changes to their lives, they may have difficulty staying cool, calm & collected. Our kids are having to adjust to sudden changes in the way that they learn, where they can play and how they can interact with peers and extended family members. We’ve put together 5 top tips to support kids’ regulation at home to manage stress and adjust to living so much of life indoors. These tips can be used to support kids to check in with their body and emotions and establish a sense of calm at a time when the world seems so chaotic.
Fine motor skills are important for everyone to function efficiently – from picking up a cup, typing on the keyboard, to driving a car. Developing a child’s fine motor skills helps them to participate in everyday activities more independently and confidently, and they can have a lot of fun along the way!
Due to the current climate where we are spending more time at home, with restrictions for sport and other extracurricular activities ongoing, the opportunities for getting our children’s bodies moving can be seen as limited. At Qualia, we consider health, movement and fitness to be a high priority particularly during these times, and use many household items around the home to keep our children’s bodies moving! Try the following tips and strategies with your child (and join in with them!)
Lots of children who are left-handed are able to write and complete tasks without any concern at all. Sometimes, making some small modifications can make a big difference and can make writing easier! If your child is left-handed, try the following tips and strategies to help your child be successful in the classroom and in the home environment.
Have some fun this weekend making a new pencil or crayon roll for your child! If you have a sewing machine and basic sewing skills (i.e. can sew a straight line), you’ll have it ready to go in no time!
Written by one of our fabulous therapists, Alice Kettle
If your child has just started school or is looking to start school next year it is never to early or late to practice school readiness skills! Over the holidays we posted a few short videos for school readiness skills! The videos involved the following:
Paediatric occupational therapists work with children to develop independence in their everyday tasks. Children’s primary everyday ‘occupations’ include being a student, friend and player. Occupational therapists (OT’s) can assist children in developing functional skills to perform to the best of their ability in these roles.
Fine motor development refers to the movements that require precise, coordinated actions of small muscles. Fine motor skills usually involve the synchronisation of hands and fingers to complete tasks. There are many overlaps with visual motor control that refers to the ability to coordinate visual information with motor output for visually guided movements (hand-eye coordination).
We love this article from Bernice Cullinan and Brod Bagert…
At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects on cardboard pages. Guide your child by pointing to the pictures, and say the names of the various objects. By drawing attention to pictures and associating words with both pictures and real-world objects, your child will learn the importance of language.
If you have a child that finds writing difficult, it can be tricky to find a writing activity that is enjoyable and motivating. While technology is being integrated into the classroom more and more, writing is still the main way children record the information they learn, therefore making it an important skill for learning.
These five activities have been tried and tested and are guaranteed to get your child having fun whilst writing:
We are excited to announce that we will be participating in a community presentation at Rozelle Espresso on Wednesday 15th March at 10.30am. We will also be setting up a stall at Rozelle Markets – come along and say hello!
This app is great for developing letter formation and is appropriate for ages 4 -7. The app teaches correct formation of number, lower case and capital letters according to NSW Foundation font. Try the ‘shake a letter’ and ‘letter of the day’ options as well!
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was recently established to allow children and teenagers with developmental or participation difficulties access services such as occupational therapy. Childhood is such an important time for setting up how a person learns and develops and support provided early will give your child the best chance of reaching their potential.
Mr Yum is a fun and engaging hand strength and pincer strength activity. Both of these skills are required for pencil grasp, pencil control for handwriting and self-care skills such as dressing.
Getting ready in the morning with a reluctant participant can make for a stressful start to the day for everyone. Hopefully these tips might help: Continue Reading…
We see lots of children who are exerting excessive pressure through their fingertips and on the page when writing. There are a number of reasons why your child may be pressing too hard on the pencil or the page. This post will aim to give you some tips and tricks to try with your child to help reduce the pressure.
Pegs are an easily accessible home resource that can be used to assist in the development of fine motor skills, finger strength, appropriate pencil grasp and functional tasks such as dressing and eating.
Washing, brushing and styling one’s hair can be an incredibly tactile experience. These activities are a fundamental part of a child’s daily routine and can be really tricky for children who are more sensitive.
Here is a list of our favourite tools for hair washing, brushing and styling:
We are asked all the time about handwriting. “We use laptops and iPads for everything, why do I need to bother addressing my child’s handwriting difficulty?” It is a really valid question. However, writing is more than just drawing letters. When you add the cognitive strategy requirements (memory, planning, attention), semantics, spelling, reading, comprehension and vocabulary components it becomes possibly one of the most complex tasks a student is expected to do in the classroom. Difficulties with writing (such as idea generation or writing speed) might not actually go away by simply moving to a keyboard. Below is a list of areas of handwriting and ideas to address the difficulty:
10 Quick Handwriting Warm-Ups
Handwriting warm ups are a great way to get your child ready for writing tasks.
These only take 2-3 minutes to complete and can assist your child with getting their hand and finger muscles ready for writing.
Have you ever wondered why occupational therapists work with children? Maybe you are not even sure what an occupational therapist is?
As our first blog entry, we thought we would introduce our profession.
In short, occupational therapy is the therapy of ‘occupations’. Occupations are the everyday ‘jobs’ that an individual does to bring purpose and meaning to their lives. It includes things they need, desire or are expected to do.
For an adult, this may include paid employment but also refers to parenting, being a friend or member of the community. These occupations broadly fall under the categories: self-care, rest, productivity and leisure. For each of these occupations, a person is expected to successfully complete a number of tasks such as driving a car, brushing teeth or using a phone.
Children have occupations too! Children are players, developers and learners. At particular ages, there are activities and tasks that they learn to do, that contribute towards their overall development.