• Top 5 Equipment Recommendations for Parents of Young Children

    As an occupational therapist with close to 20 years of experience working with parents of young children, I often get […]

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  • Yoga Benefits for Youngins

    In recent decades
    yoga has become increasingly more mainstream as a form of exercise. Most
    fitness centers offer a variety of classes, and more often parents are allowing
    their children to participate with them. It may seem strange to think a child
    would have the discipline to attend or enjoy an adult class, but many young children
    are being exposed at a early age to yoga in schools that understand and value
    the benefits.

    As a pediatric
    occupational therapist, I have been incorporating elements of yoga with my
    young patients for years to help with skills such as concentration, coordination,
    flexibility, strengthening, self-control, balance, relaxation, and body
    awareness. Since many yoga poses have corresponding animal names, I find it
    easy to get children to imitate poses and engage in challenging poses for
    extended periods of time. The increased use of muscles not typically practiced
    in traditional play allow a child to benefit physically as well as the mental
    health boost that comes with stress relief and increased confidence.

    Some common yoga
    postures with animal names include: cat, cow, down dog, and dolphin.  These and many others are easy to search
    on-line and can be completed separately or in a sequence. Although it is
    important to practice intensive yoga with a trained instructor, parents can
    easily incorporate simple poses into play without much worry. For assistance in
    learning more, many product brands also sell flash cards that are created
    specifically for use with children including YogaCards by Think Fun and
    Yogarilla by Super Duper Publications.

    I hope you find
    this insightful. If your youngin struggles with coordination skills, balance,
    strength, or flexibility that has negatively affected other skill areas, consider
    consulting with an occupational therapist to develop a plan for your child.
    Have a playful day!

    Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play

    Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational
    therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more
    information about Playapy services and products, visit
    www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

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  • May is Correct Posture Month


    One of the most common functional limitations that occur in children is poor posture.  We often hear advice given to adults especially with the increased use of technology in the recent decades.  Many parents, however, are often surprised when it is pointed out in their children.  Since May is National Correct Posture Month, here is a list of 5 signs of poor posture and 5 ways to improve it.

    5 Signs of Poor Posture


    1. Rounded back and shoulders when sitting or walking
    2. Protrusion of the shoulder bones when back is straight
    3. Complaints of pain from massage
    4. Decreased endurance or upper body strength
    5. Inability to maintain good posture upon request

    5 Ways to Improve Posture


    1. Bring awareness to it and give praise when it is good.
    2. Practice wheelbarrow walking and overhead ball exercises.
    3. Participate in sports like swimming and basketball.
    4. Spend time with back relaxing over a ball or with tummy on floor.
    5. Maintain postures practiced in yoga, tai-chi, and ballet.

    It is important to always lead by example and be aware of your own posture as a parent.  As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so consider your own history of back problems.  If your child is demonstrating poor posture, you should consult with your doctor about having a physical or occupational therapist conduct an evaluation and create a treatment plan if deemed necessary.  Have a playful day!

    Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play Curator

    Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more information, visit www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

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