Friday, January 28, 2011

Engage with your child! It's great for both of you!

As a new mom, I have found that the most important thing in my life is now my child.  But, I also have so many other responsibilities, and often feel as if I just don’t have enough time to spend with him.  I know this is just the beginning, and this is a common feeling for the working parent and the stay at home parent.  So, whenever I am able to spend time with him, I want to make the very most of it…and I certainly don’t want to forget these times (they do grow too fast!).
While I spend time with him, I am quickly reminded that you should always get down on the child’s level when talking to him/her.  So, I do.  We lay on the floor and we play together.  We do tummy time together, we play with toys together, and we read together.  As he grows, I grow…and we continue to take steps together in this wonderful journey of life.  I challenge each of you to spend five minutes each day getting down on the level of your child.  We call on them all day to step up, and follow us; but, we need to stop and take a lesson from them.  They have so much to teach us…laughter, humility, peace, compassion, love, and the list goes on…

Amy Bumgarner, MS, OTR/L

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Power of Touch!

As I complete our bath time routine with my children, I think about how much we enjoy this time together.  Following their baths we spread out their towels and they each get a massage prior to dressing.  This is the time when my 5 year old son and I talk about his day. It’s also the time my 21 month old daughter tells me all the new words she knows.  This is daddy’s time to bond and have the kid’s full attention.
Infant/child massage is a great way to increase bonding for Mom or Dad.  It is very simple to incorporate into your nightly routine and has lots of benefits.
Benefits of massage:
·         Relaxing/ calming
·         Improve sleep
·         Hydrates skin (especially this time of year)
·         Attachment/Bonding time for parent and child
·         Increase their blood flow and lymphatic circulation
·         Enhance child’s body awareness through visual, tactile, and proprioceptive input.
What you need:
·         Oil- Think edible.  Smaller children tend to suck on their fingers and toes.  We don’t want to introduce chemicals we wouldn’t want them to have.
Ex. Olive oil, sunflower oil, or vegetable oils.  Also non scented is important to aide in the bonding process and to not trigger any allergies.
·         Towel or blanket both to protect the floor and keep your child warm if needed.
·         Your child.  There is no set amount of time that you should massage.  Listen to your child and watch for cues they are enjoying the massage.  Go with the flow and have fun with your child.
Where to start:
·         Legs and feet
·         Stomach
·         Arms
·         Back
Find what works for you and your children.  They don’t stay this small for very long so enjoy every minute!
If you are interested in a free infant massage class, please contact us!  Classes will be held Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m.

Brandon Scott, COTA/L, LMBT

Friday, January 7, 2011

Make it Count!

After reading Peter Gorman's article in The Charlotte Observer about the crisis that Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools is facing, it is clear that more than ever before, our children's education is largely our responsibility.  And, like he said, what happens now directly affects our children far beyond 2011.  So, how do we make the most of our homework time?   

Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is that the child has to be at an optimal state of arousal to sit down and do homework.  This means he can't be too excitable or full of energy, nor too tired.  As well, kids need to move! So, before beginning homework, spend 10-15 minutes doing a large muscle activity such as push-ups, animal crawls, yoga poses, etc.  Allow him to chew bubble gum and take frequent movement breaks throughout homework, as well.  To foster learning and retention, incorporate movement into the lesson.  For instance, if he is learning to write numbers, have him draw them out on the sidewalk with chalk or form them in the air.  Then, have him write them on the homework page.  If your child is learning basic math facts, have him say them out loud while soldier marching or performing jumping jacks.

The other factor is that we cannot fill our children's schedules too full. While having well-rounded children is important, we have to leave time for good old fashioned play and homework completion.

And,as always, limit screen time!

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L