These simple strategies may help prevent those terrible tantrums

16 de abril de 2021 • by Riley Thomas
Tea for two

If following a series of instructions to get ready in the morning (brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, put on shoes) seems to be too difficult for your child, or if you're witnessing emotional outbursts and chronic time management struggles, your child may be struggling with their Executive Functioning skills. But there is hope! Occupational Therapist Riley Thomas often recommends activities to address Executive Functioning deficits at home. While they can vary based on the child’s age, these home interventions are at the top of our list!

1. Any activity where a child has to follow instructions and complete tasks as independently as possible will be beneficial. Such activities include:

2. Make visual schedules for routine daily tasks, such as a morning, bedtime, or after-school routine

  • Visual cues to sequencing help children know what to expect, which can help them manage their emotions throughout the process, and knowing there's an end to the task is super helpful!
  • Depending on the child's age and skills, working on the schedule together helps them develop the ability to make logical, multi-step plan.
  • This activity helps prepare your child to the checklists and to-do lists in life.

3. Parents can help their child build executive functioning skills by the way they talk to their child.

  • If you see your child is struggling with something, start by asking them a question to provoke their thinking instead of simple yes or no questions. Don't immediately jump in and do the task for them. Sample questions include:
    • What do you think the next step is?
    • Where do you think we could find the answer?
  • If you see the question doesn’t help them enough, you can then direct the child to the answer, such as pointing to the instructions or where the child needs to go to take the next step.
  • If they still are unable to comprehend, this is when you should jump in to tell them exactly what they need to do next.

When these struggles begin to impact the daily functioning of your child, yourself, or your family, it may be time to schedule an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist. In pediatric Occupational Therapy, your child will learn how to accomplish their everyday tasks, goals, and to-do lists without the explosive emotions or tantrums. Contact Play Works to schedule an initial evaluation and allow our team to help answer all your hardest questions!

Learn more about the signs of EF deficits from last month's blog post: When accomplishing simple tasks becomes an emotional battle

Learn more about the signs of EF deficits from last month's blog post: When accomplishing simple tasks becomes an emotional battle

Riley Thomas
Written by Riley Thomas, MS, OTR/L

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