Never Forget Your Home Program Again!
(This method is foolproof)
If your child is already receiving skilled Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Feeding Therapy, or ABA, chances are you’ve been given formal or informal “home programs.” Your therapist may have instructed you to help your child complete items such as heavy work, shoe tying practice, object identification, their ‘s’ sounds, stretches and exercises, etc. Most home programs are designed by your therapist to be simple to complete, however, as a busy parent they may be anything but.
You may have a lot on your plate, difficulty motivating your child to participate, multiple children’s schedules to keep track of, or your routine is “too full”. Those are just a few common reasons, parents have told me, they don’t complete their home programs. If you fit in this category, I would like to introduce you to a concept called “habit stacking.” It’s very simple, and you may already be subconsciously doing it.
Every day you have habits and routines you engage in. Even with the most unpredictable schedules, there are usually some constants, for example: teeth brushing, showering, dressing, eating, sleeping, and using the bathroom. Habit stacking is a behavior that involves combining a habit you’d like to start, with a habit you complete consistently. For example, completing 10 push ups (desired habit) every time after you brush your teeth (consistent habit). This can be easy to incorporate into your daily routine, like taking vitamins at dinner time or practicing tying shoes when getting dressed. Another one of our favorite ways to incorporate speech practice is in the car with games, like I-Spy! By working your home program into things you already do daily, it can make it much easier to complete.
Talk with your occupational therapist today for more tips and tricks on how to incorporate your child’s home program into their daily routine! Give TEAM 4 Kids a call at 1-800-376-3440 if you have any questions or concerns.
Hannah Vyhmeister, M.S.,OTR/L