There are many reasons why a person may need therapy sessions. For some people, it’s just a doctor’s visit that doesn’t feel scary or requires much preparation. However, for a child, it may be a new experience that could frighten them.
Hence, it may be a great idea to prepare your child for their session beforehand. Here are some ways you can introduce occupational therapy to your kid:
1. Tell Them In Advance
Children understand routine and are more comfortable knowing what to expect during their day. It’s easier to take care of them and get things done when they realize what they’ll be doing. So, taking a break from their normal activities and going to therapy for the first time may feel overwhelming and scary.
It’s helpful to tell them about their appointment ahead to ease your kid’s minds. You can inform them of what’ll happen during the session and how long they’ll have to stay there. You can also tell them how it’ll help their current condition so that they understand it’s for their health. Doing so may help lessen their anxiety once they start their therapy. For instance, if you bring them to the therapist on the weekend, inform them a day or two before. If you can, assure them that the appointment won’t be scary, so that they’ll look forward to it.
If they need to attend therapy sessions regularly, you can tell them about it before their first appointment. For example, you can tell them how their routine will go for the week so they know when to expect their doctor’s visit. If they have other activities like dance classes or after-school tutorials, let them know their therapy will happen after they finish the classes they usually do. This way, they’ll also have time to adjust to their new schedule.
2. Bring Them To A Nearby Therapist
Anything unfamiliar may scare your kid off, including new locations or environments they’ve never been to before. If you want your child to feel more comfortable about their therapy sessions, bringing them to a nearby clinic may be better. For instance, you can check out nearby offices for occupational therapy in Sydney if you live in the area. Finding a therapy location near your home will help them feel at ease whenever you visit a therapist. They won’t feel alienated when you head to the clinic.
Furthermore, going to a closer therapy clinic will allow you to make other plans after therapy. For example, you can entice your child to finish their session by offering a reward like going to a park or treating them to a meal. Rewarding them may encourage them to behave during their therapy and make it easier for you to incorporate this new activity into their routine.
3. Practice Some Therapy Movements
Some children may not understand why they need to go to therapy since they’re still young. In some cases, they may not want to follow the movements a therapist would like them to do. So, to prepare them for their therapy, it may help to do a simulation beforehand.
For instance, you can utilize familiar children’s games or activities to introduce some exercises they’ll do with the therapist. You can try a role-playing game where you’ll pretend to be their doctor so that when their appointment arrives, they already know what they’ll do. Start by introducing yourself as the occupational therapist and asking your child about their condition. Doing this may help the therapist communicate better with your kid during their actual session.
Once they settle down, start performing the movements and talk to them. Tell them to voice their concerns if they feel pain in any of their body parts. This way, they won’t hesitate to tell the therapist about their condition.
4. Let Them Know That The Therapy Isn’t Painful or Bad
If your child needs therapy due to an injury or health condition, they may associate anything that concerns a doctor as painful or harmful. After all, they may be familiar with the appearance of doctors and a health facility. So, if you bring them to a therapy session without any briefing, they may cause a scene because they’re scared of getting hurt. To avoid this, you can calm your child by telling them that a session isn’t meant to inflict pain and help alleviate their condition.
If you can, try to coordinate with their therapist so that they can start with easy movements and gradually increase the dynamics after your child feels comfortable with their appointments. Also, being with them during their session may ease their anxiety and fear. If any part of their treatment seems to frighten them, you can explain what it is so that they’ll understand its purpose. So, don’t hesitate to be present and support your child during their therapy.
5. Ask About Their Experience
Although they may start to be more familiar with their therapy sessions, there are times when they’ll hesitate to go to the therapy clinic. It may help to talk to your child during these times and ask about their experience. You can take this opportunity to determine whether kid feels a positive change in their body or ask if they have any concerns regarding their treatment. Talking to your child will help you learn more about their experience, allowing you to find ways to support your child during their treatments.
Also, constantly consulting your kid is an excellent opportunity to praise them for their efforts. Some children may feel more compelled to do well if you affirm their actions. For example, if you see them doing what they learned in therapy at home, you can tell them you’re proud of them and praise their actions.
A visit to the therapist may feel too unfamiliar to your child. So, it may be helpful to find effective ways to prepare them before their first session. For one, it may be better to inform them of their treatments rather than bring them to the doctor without any briefing. This way, they won’t feel uncomfortable and scared. Overall, it may take time before your child becomes more at ease with their therapy sessions, so be patient and ensure you’re with them every step of the way.