A mom recently asked me how do I develop patience to do a session of Physical Therapy when a kid is crying, upset, fussy or otherwise challenging?
Part of it may be a God-given gift. Wanting to give each patient the best possible treatment, helping them get better while providing them with fun ways to learn and practice whatever skills they’re working on. But over the years I have also developed certain tips and techniques that have helped me, and that often help moms, dads and other caregivers as they continue to do the things they learn at A+ Therapy once they’re at home.
- Ask yourself if the therapy you are doing is a want or a need. Generally it is a need because the benefits of the therapy outweigh the discomfort or annoyance a child may experience.
- Make sure the child is well-rested so they’re physically ready for their session.
- Provide them with interesting stimulus to accomplish their tasks. A baby may need a variety of colorful toys, items that make noise, etc, to maintain their attention.
- Limit the amount of distractions that could cause them to lose focus.
- Set everything up first. Whether it’s toys, mats and props for a baby who is learning to crawl, or pencils, pens and paper for a kid about to do homework, get everything ready before you begin and provide the most conducive environment to complete the session.
- Know the exercises or activities that are the goal of a session. A cheat sheet might help so that you know how to guide them best and use time wisely.
- If all fails and a kid is still cranky, know that you have done your best, and doing certain exercises is beneficial for their improvement and growth, even if they’re not particularly "having fun” on a given day.
What you do at home is as important as what you do with the therapist.
Practicing what you have learned with consistency is extremely helpful and it can be easy to do if you follow some of these recommendations.