Children require so much of our time and attention, and in the end it is all worth it. Sometimes, either because of medical conditions or accidents, children may need to take part in physical therapy. Physical Therapy is so important to start as soon possible once it is decided as a solution for whatever the cause. It’s not always easy, as parents, to watch our children do some of the required activities, however, it is essential for recovery.
The first step in learning how to encourage children during physical therapy is recognizing, accepting and then taking the necessary steps toward a goal in this part of your child’s life. Whatever the reason for their therapy, children are aware of the differences between them and other children and will soon recognize it too. As a parent, especially of young children who can’t speak up, you are responsible for being their ‘voice.’ Your child has the potential to do so many things and if physical therapy is required for them, it is imperative that you make the time and you get it done.
Second part of encouragement is making sure whatever means of therapy you are using that it works for you and your family. Make sure you are comfortable with the people who are working with your child, and they feel the same about you. Look around the facility if you are going somewhere out of the home and check that it’s a clean, safe environment for kids. Also, make sure the appointment times are convenient for your schedules.
The third step might be hard to find, but you need to know your strength is important. Kids will argue about most things you try to make them do, especially if it’s painful. Even though you want to tell them it’s okay and just hold them instead, positive encouragement is your biggest weapon! Suggest things as a game rather than therapy. Call it ‘play time,’ or something similar. Then by saying how well they did something, or saying how hard that must have been and how proud you are for them to try, are all positive responses to whether they actually do what they were attempting.
Taking part in some of their activities is the fourth step. If their therapy requires cardio activities, stretching, certain games, these are all things that YOU can do too! When our children watch us do things, they learn all about it, and these are things will remember. Our daily habits, what we choose to eat or drink, the things we say are all things that our children absorb and the better choices we make, the more likely they’ll make those good choices as well.
The last step of this easy lesson on how to make physical therapy a positive experience is helping your child see the results. Whether you take videos, pictures, or its something they can physically see and feel, make it a point to show them what a difference physical therapy has made in their lives. Not everyone has the opportunity to receive therapy when it’s needed, remind this to your child as well as the point of how wonderful THEY are.
Try these simple steps to encouraging your child and you will see them shine! They can do anything they want, if they believe in themselves and it starts with positive parents setting healthy examples!