Melissa Petcu MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Midtown office of Child and Family Development, emphasizes that pediatric occupational therapy is all about "the job of living". Families can capitalize of events and activities already happening around the house to facilitate development and improve skills. In August, she shares:
Well, it’s not quite the Christmas hustle and bustle but back to school has definitely taken a priority in our household- especially with our oldest going into kindergarten this year! How do they grow up so fast?? While you’re busy getting the kids squared away with book bags, crayons, notebooks, and pencils, I thought I would give an insider's perspective on some of those teachers’ lists.
Book bag: Basically, go for the smallest and lightest option to get the job done. Padded shoulder straps and a waist strap for the highschoolers are best. Elementary school kids typically only need enough space for a folder, planner and a few thin books or chapter books. The days of bringing home textbooks are getting fewer and fewer.
Short pencils: Smaller pencils are easier for small hands to control and help to promote a pincer grasp. The same is true for markers and crayons. The smaller the better. Hint: mini pip squeaks and broken crayons are great
Crayons vs Markers: There is a time and a place for both! Crayons require more pressure and markers require much less. Depending on your child’s tendencies and the activity, one might have more benefits over the other.
Plain paper vs Lined paper: Once your child can correctly form letters, lined paper is okay. Children learn to correctly size and align letters when using lined paper.
Sensory Diet: Does your child have sensory processing difficulties? Talk with your occupational therapist about a sensory diet for the classroom/school setting. Make sure to share it with the teacher!
Now, what tips do you veteran moms have for me? Will I be a puddle on the floor when I drop off my daughter on the first day? How do you all fit in homework, extra curricular activities, and dinner time into one very short evening??