Tuning In and Tuning Out!


Tuning In and Tuning Out!



As another amazing year draws to a close, we at Connecting OT want to thank our families, schools and everyone else who we work with for another sensational year!

As we prepare for Christmas and 2016 draws to an end it is good to take a moment to stop and reflect. One of the key factors that I find myself reflecting on is decompression.

As adults we can make time in our day for gym, yoga or having some time out. Children can often find it hard to understand that they need quiet time and that its ok to be bored. I remember as a child, the time when I didn't need to have a day sleep anymore but needed to go and have quiet play in my room. I can actually recall coming home from being out and about and craving that time to myself to play with whatever game I had on the go.. Dolls or cars were equally likely!

As a family sometimes the best way to both decompress and reconnect is over a board game. This provides something that is slightly structured but still relaxing, it helps all siblings to be on more of an equal playing field and creates the opportunity for not only lovely time together but so importantly... referencing time, this means the eye contact and glances that automatically occur from sitting opposite, whether around the table or on the floor.

Referencing provides an integral way of scanning to gain clues regarding what is going on, eg emotions, timeliness, expectations and roles. It is best not to prompt specifically eg don't say 'look at my face it is your turn'. Instead you could try squeezing the hand of the child in question until they look up and share a smile or a glance. From there use your eyes to prompt what is going on.

The follow on from this is the functional practice that you can have around your home and out and about. Think for a second how frustrating it is to be getting ready in the morning and having to repeat the instructions 5 times. From a sensory perspective, chances are your children are not responding as their sensory systems are not regulated and in check. Something great to try is using the strategy that has been practiced in a fun and relaxing environment and experiment in other times of the day. Half the battle of changing behaviour is actually around changing the habit.

Summer holidays are often a good time to do the background work around changing behaviours in preparation for the new school year. I encourage you to try some referencing activities and see if you can see a difference when it comes to decompression and overall positive family dynamics.

Connecting OT will be taking a break until January 16, 2017 so that we can also decompress. At that point do feel free to contact us regarding any queries you might have in relation to the above or anything further.

From all of us at Connecting OT we wish you a safe and happy holidays!
Kate Vaarzon-Morel
Occupational Therapist
Director Connecting OT