Children with ADHD often face a myriad of challenges beyond what meets the eye. While attention deficits and hyperactivity are commonly recognized symptoms, let’s delve into five lesser-known issues that can significantly impact a child’s daily life: interoception, balance, constipation, vision, and executive function. In this blog post, we’ll explore each of these under-recognized issues and how specialized pediatric occupational therapy and physical therapy can offer effective interventions to support children with ADHD. These challenges aren’t just areas of concern; they’re opportunities for improvement that can enhance your child’s self-esteem, confidence, and ability to tackle challenges head-on.

Interoception: Understanding the Body’s Signals

We all know about our 5 senses, but there are also internal senses that tell us about our bodies, how they feel, and how they move. One of those internal senses is called Interoception. This refers to the ability to perceive internal bodily sensations, such as hunger, thirst, and the need to use the bathroom. Many children with ADHD struggle with interoception, leading to difficulties in recognizing and responding to their body’s signals. This can result in irregular eating habits, dehydration, and challenges with self-regulation.

Think about a time that you were hangry! If our children are feeling hungry or thirsty, and are not skilled at feeling and interpreting those messages from their bodies, focussing on a teacher or playing with a friend can be really difficult.

The good news is that specialized therapy techniques, such as sensory integration activities and mindfulness exercises, can help improve interoceptive awareness and promote better self-management skills. A great resource to learn more about interception is Kelley Mahler’s website here. Our therapists at Kid PT use the Interception Curriculum she has developed to support our children’s improved awareness of their sensory awareness from the inside out.

Balance: Feeling Centered

Maintaining balance and coordination is essential for daily activities and participation in sports and recreational activities. It even impact the classroom setting, as children need to have the postural control to separate their eyes from their head and bodies, while listening and learning at the same time. However, children with ADHD often experience difficulties with balance, which can affect their confidence and overall physical well-being. Through targeted physical therapy interventions, such as balance training exercises and vestibular stimulation, children can enhance their balance skills and reduce the risk of falls and injuries.

So often we assume that our children who are always moving must have good balance and gross motor skills. Often children with ADHD have learned from experience that moving slowly, or not moving at all, is REALLY hard to control and that if they just keep moving, they can control their bodies much better. This lack of mature postural control skills can impact children in so many areas, from academic to social.

Is your child always falling out of their chair or only moving quickly? Read more about what may be going on here and here.

Constipation: Addressing Digestive Health

Constipation is a commonly overlooked issue in children with ADHD, yet it can have a significant impact on their quality of life. Poor dietary habits, medication side effects, postural asymmetries and reduced physical activity levels may contribute to constipation in this population. Again, this is an often overlooked issue, but one that impacts our children’s everyday life and health. Pediatric occupational therapists and physical therapists can collaborate with healthcare providers to develop tailored interventions, including dietary modifications, bowel management strategies, and sensory-based techniques to address constipation and promote bowel regularity.

Our physical therapists at Kid PT have learned over and over again working with children with various diagnoses that improving their postural symmetry and control, has impacted the child’s constipation or reflux. This is often overlooked, but even minor problems in the core can impact the pressure system for things to effortless move up and down in the body’s systems.

Vision: Sharpening Visual Skills

Visual processing difficulties are prevalent among children with ADHD and can manifest as challenges with tracking, focusing, and visual perception. Undiagnosed vision problems may exacerbate academic struggles and hinder overall performance in school. Vision challenges can impact a child’s school life, success playing sports, and even social interactions.

Both occupational therapy and physical therapy can work on taking those visual challenges, and put it into action by working on not only the function of the eyes, but getting vision coordinated and in sync with the other sensory systems and the body too.

Executive Function: Strengthening Cognitive Skills

Executive function encompasses a range of cognitive processes involved in goal-directed behavior, such as planning, working memory, organization, and flexible thinking. Children with ADHD often exhibit weaknesses in executive function, which can impact their academic performance, social interactions, and daily functioning. If your child is often frustrated or seems inflexible, this may be an area of weakness. Additionally, it the parenting strategies that work for your other children, just don’t work for your child with ADHD, this will likely be why.

The occupational therapists can evaluate each component of a child’s executive function and sensory processing skills to develop a comprehensive individualized plan to support the child. Specialized interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral strategies, organizational skills training, and guided sensory motor experiences, can help improve executive function skills and enhance overall adaptive functioning in children with ADHD.

ADHD Insight Screening: Empowering Your Child’s Journey

While ADHD presents its share of well-known challenges, it’s essential to recognize and address the often overlooked issues that significantly impact children’s lives. Interoception, balance, constipation, vision, and executive function problems can all pose significant barriers to children with ADHD, but with specialized pediatric occupational therapy and physical therapy, these challenges can be improved in ways that can improve your child’s confidence and self-esteem, leading them to more success now and in the future. By raising awareness of these underrecognized issues and providing targeted interventions, we can empower children with ADHD to reach their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

If you’ve noticed your child seems a step behind, or perhaps they tire easily, struggle with coordination, or find it hard to keep up with their peers, it’s natural to feel concerned. That’s why we’re extending a heartfelt invitation for you to access our expertise at no cost. For a limited time, KidPT is proud to offer an ADHD Insight Screening. Our expert team is dedicated to understanding the unique melody of your child’s development and providing tailored strategies to harmonize their abilities with their ambitions. During the screening, we’ll evaluate your child’s balance, vision, and executive function skills. We’ll sit down with you, listen to your observations, and address your worries with actionable steps. Seize this opportunity for a ADHD Insight Screening and be proactive in supporting your child’s developmental journey. Click HERE or reach out to us at 908-543-4390 to reserve your spot and embrace the support your child deserves.

Together, let’s help your child feel confident, in control, and living their best lives.

Schedule Your Free Development ADHD Screening

More Free Resources for Supporting Children with ADHD

Read our blog – Quick Kids: It Might be More Than Behavior or Attentions

Read a sample of Dr. Joni;s book – Turn Stumbling Blocks Into building Blocks

On social media? Then Like Our Facebook Page or Follow Us On Instagram for more helpful tips and advice.

5 Tips on How to Prevent Repeated Injuries in Young Athletes

As parents, we pour our hearts and souls into nurturing our young athletes.

We drive them to practice, cheer them on from the sidelines, and invest countless hours and resources into their sporting endeavors.

We do it all because we believe in our children’s potential and their dreams, and we want to see them succeed. But when our young athletes face repeated injuries, it can be a devastating blow to both them and us.

The emotional rollercoaster that comes with watching our children experience pain, setbacks, and the frustration of being sidelined can be overwhelming.

We understand the dedication and sacrifices involved in raising young athletes, and we also understand the heartache that comes with seeing them struggle.

However, there is hope, and in this blog, we’ll explore how to prevent repeated injuries in young athletes so that they can continue pursuing their passions with confidence and resilience.

How Repeated Injuries Affect Young Athletes:

Repeated injuries can have a profound impact on the physical and emotional well-being of young athletes.

It’s not just about the immediate pain and discomfort; it’s about the long-term consequences that can affect their athletic careers and even their quality of life.

Here’s how repeated injuries can affect our young athletes:

1. Physical Limitations:

Each injury can leave a lasting mark on the athlete’s body, potentially reducing their performance capabilities and flexibility.

This physical toll can hinder their ability to compete at their best.

2. Psychological Impact:

Young athletes may experience feelings of frustration, anxiety, and even depression due to repeated injuries.

They may question their abilities and lose the confidence they once had in their skills.

3. Lost Opportunities:

Time spent recovering from injuries is time away from practice and competition.

Repeated injuries can rob young athletes of crucial opportunities to improve and showcase their talents.

4. Strained Relationships:

The stress of dealing with injuries can strain relationships within the family and with coaches and teammates.

The pressure to perform can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts.

5 Tips on How to Prevent Repeated Injuries in Young Athletes:

Now, let’s dive into the heart of the matter: how can we prevent repeated injuries in our young athletes? Here are five essential tips that will help safeguard their physical and emotional well-being:

1. Physical Therapy – The Foundation of Injury Prevention:

As a physical therapist, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of incorporating regular physical therapy into your young athlete’s routine.

A skilled therapist can assess their physical condition, identify areas of weakness or imbalance, and design a customized plan to strengthen their body and prevent injuries.

Physical therapy not only aids in recovery but also provides essential guidance on proper conditioning and techniques to reduce the risk of injuries in the first place.

2. Rest and Recovery:

In the quest for greatness, young athletes often push themselves to the limit.

However, it’s crucial to recognize the value of rest and recovery.

Overtraining and inadequate rest can lead to injuries.

Encourage your child to listen to their body, take regular rest days, and prioritize sleep to allow their muscles and joints to recuperate.

3. Balanced Nutrition:

A well-balanced diet is the fuel that young athletes need to perform at their best and stay injury-free.

Ensure your child gets the right mix of nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

A nutritionist can provide personalized guidance to support their growth, development, and overall health.

4. Proper Warm-Up and Cool Down:

Teach your young athlete the importance of warming up before practice or competition and cooling down afterward.

A proper warm-up prepares the body for physical activity, while a cool-down routine helps prevent muscle stiffness and injury.

Make stretching and mobility exercises a non-negotiable part of their training regimen.

5. Diversify Training and Sports:

While specialization in a single sport can lead to skill development, it can also increase the risk of overuse injuries.

Encourage your child to participate in multiple sports and engage in cross-training.

This not only keeps them physically versatile but also reduces the strain on specific muscle groups.

Free Developmental Screening for Young Athletes’ Performance

If you’ve noticed that your young athlete is struggling to keep up with their peers, experiencing coordination issues, or facing challenges with their physical performance, it’s completely natural to be concerned.

That’s why we’re extending a warm invitation for you to tap into our expertise, and best of all, it won’t cost you a thing.

For a limited time, KidPT is thrilled to offer a Free Performance Assessment for Young Athletes.

Our expert team is dedicated to understanding the unique rhythm of your young athlete’s development and providing customized strategies to enhance their athletic abilities.

During the assessment, we’ll evaluate your young athlete’s physical strength, coordination, and overall performance.

We’ll sit down with you, listen to your observations, and address any concerns with practical steps and guidance.

Take advantage of this opportunity to schedule a Free Performance Assessment for Young Athletes and take a proactive approach to support your child’s athletic journey.

Click HERE or contact us at 908 543 4390 to secure your spot and provide the support your young athlete deserves.

Together, let’s empower your young athlete to perform at their best, move with agility, and excel in their sports endeavors.

Schedule Your Free Development Screening for Young Athletes’ Performance.


“He will only wear the same outfit EVERY SINGLE DAY!”

“The second he comes home from school he takes all of his clothes off!”

“She refuses to wear socks!  What do I do now that summer is over?”

These are things we hear everyday from parents calling us at Kid PT to ask for help.  There are many strategies our Occupational Therapists have to guide you and your child through these challenges, but one step can be to find clothing that is more tolerable to our children who are more sensory sensitive.

Choosing the right clothing for autistic children can greatly impact their comfort and confidence as they head back to school. Sensory-friendly and adaptive clothing can make a significant difference. Here are 8 autism-friendly clothing brands that prioritize comfort and style for a successful back-to-school experience:

  1. Tommy Hilfiger’s Adaptive

Tommy Hilfiger’s Adaptive line features clothing with hidden magnetic closures, adjustable features, and easy-to-use fastenings. These modifications promote independence while maintaining a trendy appearance.

  1. SmartKnitKIDS

SmartKnitKIDS specializes in seamless, irritation-free clothing that is perfect for children with sensory sensitivities. Their seamless socks, underwear, and tees minimize discomfort and sensory challenges.

  1. Mabel’s Labels

Mabel’s Labels not only offers practical name labels but also a collection of sensory-friendly clothing. Their tagless shirts and adaptive features cater to children’s unique needs, reducing sensory triggers.

  1. Target’s Cat & Jack Adaptive

Target’s Cat & Jack Adaptive line combines style with functionality. Their sensory-friendly designs, adaptive closures, and soft materials provide children with autism a comfortable and fashionable back-to-school wardrobe.

  1. Primary

Primary offers a range of clothing in solid colors without distracting logos or tags. These simple designs can be particularly appealing to children with sensory sensitivities, providing a hassle-free clothing option.

  1. BILLY Footwear

BILLY Footwear specializes in adaptive shoes with a unique zipper system that makes them easy to put on and take off. Their stylish and inclusive designs accommodate various needs.

  1. ABLE2WEAR

ABLE2WEAR focuses on clothing that addresses specific mobility and sensory needs. From open-back tops to easy-to-dress pants, their adaptive options cater to a variety of challenges that children on the autism spectrum may face.

We know that the right clothing won’t solve all of the challenges in your daily routine, but it could make a big difference. These brands prioritize sensory comfort, functionality, and style, allowing students to confidently navigate their school day while feeling their best.

Have you tried any of these brands yet?

If so, please share your story.  Let us know your likes and dislikes to help parents who are in similar shoes as you.

Sleep plays a vital role in the overall well-being and development of adolescents. However, many teenagers struggle with sleep-related issues due to factors such as academic stress, digital engagement, and changing biological rhythms. The Occupational Therapists (OTs) at Kid PT can play a crucial role in helping adolescents establish healthy sleep patterns through targeted interventions. Parents have told us over and over again that when they apply these strategies and their teens are sleeping better, the entire family feels happier and healthier.

1. Sleep Hygiene Education

   OTs can educate adolescents about the importance of consistent sleep schedules, comfortable sleep environments, and the negative effects of excessive screen time before bed. Teaching them good sleep hygiene practices empowers them to make informed choices about their sleep routine.

2. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

   Teaching relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can help adolescents manage stress and anxiety that might interfere with their sleep. These techniques promote a calm and relaxed state conducive to falling asleep.

3. Sensory Regulation Activities

   Incorporating sensory-based activities into the daily routine can help adolescents transition to a more relaxed state before bedtime. Activities like soft lighting, calming scents, and gentle tactile experiences can signal the body that it’s time to wind down.

4. Physical Activity Integration

   Encouraging regular physical activity during the day can contribute to better sleep at night. OTs can suggest appropriate exercises that align with an adolescent’s interests and energy levels, promoting physical fatigue that aids in falling asleep more easily.

5. Cognitive Behavioral Strategies

   OTs can teach adolescents cognitive strategies to address negative thought patterns that might keep them awake at night. By challenging and reframing these thoughts, adolescents can develop a healthier mindset towards sleep.

6. Sleep Journaling

   Keeping a sleep journal helps adolescents track their sleep patterns and identify potential triggers for sleep disturbances. This collaborative approach enables OTs to tailor interventions to address specific sleep challenges.

7. Technology Management

   Adolescents often engage with screens late into the night, affecting their sleep-wake cycle. OTs can work with them to establish digital curfews and develop strategies to wind down without screen exposure in the hour before bedtime.

8. Routine Development

   Consistency is key to regulating sleep. OTs can collaborate with adolescents to develop personalized bedtime routines that signal the body that it’s time to sleep. These routines can include calming activities, such as reading or listening to soothing music.

9. Environmental Modifications

   Creating a sleep-conducive environment is crucial. OTs can provide recommendations for adjusting lighting, noise levels, and bedding to create a comfortable and calming space for sleep.

10. Family Involvement

    Engaging parents and caregivers is essential for successful sleep regulation. OTs can educate families about the importance of sleep and provide them with strategies to support their adolescents in maintaining a consistent sleep schedule.

Pediatric OTs have a valuable role to play in helping adolescents regulate their sleep patterns. By employing a combination of sleep hygiene education, relaxation techniques, sensory interventions, and cognitive strategies, OTs can empower adolescents to overcome sleep-related challenges and develop healthier sleep habits. Through collaborative efforts with adolescents and their families, OTs can contribute to improved overall well-being and quality of life for adolescents.

Do you want to learn more about how the OTs at Kid PT can help things finally get better in your home? Email info@kidpt.com or Call Us at (908) 543-4390 and schedule a free phone consult to discuss what is going on and how we can help.

Occupational therapy (OT) helps people of all ages to improve their ability to perform daily activities, also known as “occupations.” 

What does this have to do with children then?

Well, what is the “occupation” of children?  PLAY!

Occupational therapists (OTs) work with individuals who have conditions that affect their ability to perform activities of daily living, such as physical or cognitive disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. The goal of occupational therapy is to help individuals achieve independence and improve their quality of life. This may include activities such as dressing, bathing, eating, and using the toilet, as well as more complex tasks like work and leisure activities. Occupational therapists may also work with individuals to improve their fine motor skills, coordination, and balance.

In the pediatrics world, OTs work in a variety of settings, such as early intervention, outpatient clinics, and schools. They work with children with a variety of needs and diagnoses, including autism, hypotonia, sensory processing disorder, and genetic disorders.

Our occupational therapists at Kid PT work with children on a wide variety of ways. 

  • Improving fine motor skills: Occupational therapists can work with children to improve their dexterity and hand-eye coordination, which can help with tasks such as writing, cutting with scissors, and buttoning clothing.
  • Enhancing gross motor skills: Occupational therapists can help children to develop their balance, coordination, and body awareness, which can improve their ability to participate in sports and other physical activities.
  • Addressing sensory processing issues: Some children may have difficulty processing sensory information, such as sounds, sights, or touch. Occupational therapists can help children to develop strategies to manage these sensory sensitivities and improve their ability to participate in daily activities.
  • Improving attention and focus: Occupational therapists can help children to develop the attention and focus needed for tasks such as reading, writing, and completing homework.
  • Adapting the environment: Occupational therapists can help children by adapting the environment to make it more accessible and comfortable for them, such as recommending adaptive equipment, or making suggestions for modifications to the child’s home or classroom.
  • Addressing developmental delays: Occupational therapy can help children who are experiencing developmental delays to catch up with their peers by providing interventions to improve their abilities to perform age-appropriate activities.
  • Addressing behavioral concerns: Occupational therapy can help children with behavioral concerns by addressing underlying difficulties with sensory processing, self-regulation, and motor planning.
  • Supporting children with special needs: Occupational therapy can help children with special needs such as autism, Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy to develop the skills they need to participate in daily activities and reach their full potential.

Kid PT’s occupational therapists, Disha and Nina, have an endless supply of creative solutions to improve all of the areas of a child’s sensory, motor and emotional development. We love to integrate children’s interests into their therapy sessions as well. An engaged child is a learning child!

Here are top 10 activities to bring occupational therapy activities home with you:

Remember, ask your child’s therapist for individual recommendations, but here is a good jumping off point for you!

1. Playdough:

Playdough is a fun and versatile material that can be used to improve fine motor skills in children. Children can use their fingers to squeeze, roll, and shape the playdough, which can help to improve their dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and strength in the fingers and hands. They can even experiment with squishing it with their feet and toes too!

2. Sensory bins:

Fill a container with cooked spaghetti, raw beans, or rice. Use cups to fill and empty, hide sea creatures in it, and have fun! This activity helps improve fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, and sensory processing.

3. Beading:

Beading is a fun and engaging way to improve fine motor skills in children. Children can string beads of different shapes and sizes onto a string or pipe cleaner, which can help to improve their dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and strength in the fingers and hands.

4. Lego building:

Building with legos or any other small building blocks can be a great way to improve fine motor skills in children. It requires children to use their fingers to pick up small blocks and place them in the correct spot, which can help to improve their dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and strength in the fingers and hands.

5. Outdoor games:

Outdoor games such as tag, capture the flag, and soccer, which involve running, jumping, and coordination.

6. Swimming:

Swimming, which improves balance, coordination and endurance.

7. Obstacle courses:

Obstacle courses, which involve crawling, jumping, and climbing, and help to develop strength and coordination.

8. Pretend Play:

Dress up and role play, where children can act out different scenarios and characters using costumes and props.

Setting up a store, where children can pretend to be the cashier, customer, or salesperson, working on their math skills, social skills, and creativity.

9. Water Play:

Sand and water play, which can help children to develop their sense of touch and sense of proprioception (awareness of the position of their body in space)

10. Cooking:

Cooking and baking activities, which can help to develop children’s sense of smell, taste, and touch.

Remember to have fun, ask your child’s OT for advice on how to bring their therapy home into your daily routine!

How do babies develop head control?

Babies have just spent 9 months growing and developing in the womb, where they were just floating around!

As newborns, they are fully reliant on mom and dad to support where their bodies go and what they see, hear, touch and smell.

With practice, new experiences, and time, babies develop head control through a combination of increased muscle strength and coordination. As they grow, infants begin to control the movements of their head by strengthening the muscles in their neck, upper back, and throughout their bodies. They also learn to coordinate the movement of their head with their eyes, which allows them to fixate on objects and track movement. This stimulates the development of the vision system, which also develops as a result of movement experiences. Additionally, as babies spend time lying on their backs, lying on their stomachs, and even being carried, they have the opportunity to practice lifting and controlling their head movements.

When do babies hold their heads up by themselves?

Babies typically begin to hold their heads up by themselves around 3-4 months of age. This is a significant milestone in their development, as it indicates that they are gaining control over the muscles in their neck and upper back. However, it’s important to note that all babies develop at different rates, and some may start holding their heads up earlier or later than others. Some babies may be able to hold their heads up briefly as early as 2 months, while others may not be able to hold their heads up until they are 5 months old. It is important to also be mindful if a baby was born prematurely. We want to consider the skills of a baby who was born prematurely in comparison with their adjusted age and not just their chronological age.

It’s important to remember that skills will develop as babies have the opportunity to try out new skills. That means that babies need lots of time to experiment with movement! The best way to do that is on the floor on a blanket with both toys (consider black and white toys or cards for our youngest of babies) and also with us. Get down on the floor with baby to play and if there is a big brother or sister, have then get in on the action too. If you have barriers to getting down on the floor to play, you can do the same play activities on a couch where you can be sitting more comfortably.

Top 3 positions that are helpful for babies to strengthen their necks

Here are our Kid PT top 3 positions that can be helpful for babies to strengthen their necks:

  1. Tummy time: Lying on the stomach while supervised is one of the best ways for babies to strengthen the muscles in their neck and upper back. Think tummy down time though! Baby can be tummy down while being carried on your shoulder, on your lap, or on your chest. Tummy time does not have to be flat on the floor, especially during the first couple of months when maybe will have more success doing it on an inclined position.Tummy down positioning should start day one, but don’t stress about how it is done!
  2. Side-lying position: Lying on their side with their head supported can also help babies to strengthen their neck muscles, especially when they start to lift their head and shoulders. Lying on their sides will also stimulate rolling to either their backs and bellies. This gives babies the experience that they can move their bodies, which leads to them trying to make it happen again and again! When babies roll they are practicing controlling their necks in 3D positions to master head control in all planes.
  3. Playing on their backs: Although there is a lot of emphasis on tummy time, playing on their backs is also good for babies. This is not the same as playing in a bouncer, car seat, or other semi-reclined seat. Many of these semi-reclined seats limit head movement and block exploration. Playing on the floor on their backs like in the photo below is fantastic for the development of head control. You want to see the baby turning their head side to side, reaching for things, and moving their arms and legs in this position.
  4. Sitting on your lap: When babies are sitting on a loved ones lap, they are looking around at their environment or looking at their loved one cooing away. They are learning how to respond to movements to keep their head steady in one position as we rock and bounce during play.
  5. Carrying baby: Baby wearing or carrying your baby can also be helpful for the development of head control. When you are holding or wearing your baby and moving through space, the baby senses the movement and turns their muscles on in response. It’s a win-win for being close to you and getting stronger at the same time.

When should I get help if my baby isn’t holding their head up?

If your baby is struggling to hold their head up during tummy time or prefers to look in one direction, it is best to seek out professional advice. At Kid PT, Dr. Joni always tells parents that when they come in for a free screening they will either learn how to help their child or they will get piece of mind that everything is ok. There is nothing to lose!

To learn more about the developmental process in the first year and understand what to expect as your little one learns to move, check out Dr. Joni’s free guide, The 6 Keys to Gross Motor Development In the First Year. The goal of this guide is to help parents find out when their baby just needs more time and when their baby may need some help to meet their milestones!

If your worries about your baby’s development are keeping you up at night (and we know how precious sleep is right now!), then we would like to invite you to come in for a Discovery Visit to meet with one of Kid PT’s physical therapists. At a Discovery Visit, we will talk about your concerns and make a look at your baby’s movement skills.

You can request for a free visit HERE.

Do you want to learn more about pediatric physical therapy and what it is. You can read more about it here. I know as a parent it can scary to take your baby to a new medical appointment. Rest assured that our visits are generally filled with smiles, giggles, and play. Babies have no idea they’re “working”, but just know they’re having fun. In fact, one of our top values at Kid PT is for the therapeutic process to be not just effective from a movement perspective, but for it to be as easy and positive as can be along the journey.

If you have any questions, we are here for you. You can call us at (908) 543-4390 or email Dr. Joni directly at joni@kidpt.com.

Just remember parents, you go this!

Healthy Cooking Together

We all know by now that we should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But knowing and doing are two different things, aren’t they? Sometimes it is just not easy to get them all in there. We are constantly tempted to fill up on convenience and junk food. If your family is anything like mine, they’d much rather fill up on a bag of chips or a bowl of rice or pasta instead of trying an apple or a plate of steamed broccoli. A little creativity and preparation can go a long way though! Here are a few ideas to “sneak” some extra vegetables and fruits in your family’s diet. 

1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt and ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder in there for good measure. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. I like to sip mine in a thermal cup on the way to work. To make it even more appealing for your kids, use some frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream in the smoothie. They won’t believe that you are letting them have ice cream for breakfast. 

2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your child’s lunch box, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your husband’s briefcase and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning. My family loves banana chips in their breakfast cereal. 

3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and anything else they will eat. You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some mayonnaise and cheese on bread. 

4. Have a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce and let everybody create their own perfect salad. 

5. Let them drink their fruits and vegetables. Keep an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge and encourage everyone to drink them as a snack. Get creative. You could start “family cocktail hour” by pouring everybody a glass of his or her favorite juice over ice. Add some straws, cocktail umbrellas and sit together to talk about how everybody’s day went. 

6. Try this for dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit. 

7. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with ranch dip. And of course there’s ants on a log. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack). 

8. Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. With a little luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store. 

9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. Both of these make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold. 

10. Start “My Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week.

Incorporate a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and vegetables in no time!

Did you know that less than 25% of people keep their goals past the month of January?

So what does this mean for the rest of the 75% of the population?

Does that mean that we’re all unrealistic in our expectations…

…not disciplined enough,

…not motivated for the right reasons,

…unwilling to make the “right” sacrifices,

…or just plain lazy?

We need to stop that negative self talk NOW!!!

We may be easily tempted into accepting these explanations of our “failure” as truth. Especially since social media is constantly screaming how we are not enough without this product, that body, or those fad diets or trends.

Maybe the fact that the majority of the population is unable to follow through with their resolutions, speaks more to the ineffectiveness of resolutions rather than us. Maybe the concept of resolutions does not align with how we as humans are typically wired. Keeping goals and following through is a hard task for anyone, so what can you do to make this process easier? We encourage you to instead establish small changes in your ROUTINE rather than resolutions. How is establishing a routine different? Below are 5 tips to making realistic routine changes that will help you reach your goals.

Start Small

This is so important to avoid burnout. If your goal is to exercise consistently, refrain from initially making a goal that reflects your ideal frequency, duration, and intensity. Instead, start with small increments of an exercise or activity that will slowly get you to that goal. This could include walking in the morning or after you get home from work, performing a short yoga flow routine on youtube, or even doing pushups before you get ready for work. The important part is that it starts to become your routine and then you can always progress the amount of time and intensity of the activity as it becomes an automatic part of your day.

Ban the Barriers

Barriers are anything that block you from performing your intended task. Some examples of barriers are relying on the presence of another individual to complete the task, only exercising in a gym, and only doing an act of self care when everyone around you is content and happy. The more steps or conditions needed to complete a task, the less likely you are to follow through. There is not a problem with performing your routine with other people or going to the gym to exercise, but always have a back up plan and follow through even if the conditions aren’t ideal. 

Combine It

Combine it with something that gives you joy. This will be different for each individual person. This may be listening to a beloved audiobook or podcast, sharing the activity with a family member or friend, or making sure to give yourself a reasonable reward each time you perform the task. Even if the actual task is daunting and overwhelming, you will still have something to look forward to, which will help to reduce your avoidance of following through.

Pair It

Pair it with activities already in your routine. Take advantage of all the routines you have already established throughout your day. By coupling your new activity with something you already automatically do in your day, it will boost your ability to follow through. An example of this is if your goal is to spend more time with your child, perform fun activities at a consistent time in your day that you are already with your child. For example, have an ice cream date or do a puzzle or play on the playground with your child after driving them home from school, after dinner, or before the bedtime routine.

Make It Sustainable

If you intend on making lifestyle changes that last longer than a few months or a year, then it has to be reasonably sustainable. It is important to choose goals that allow you to function in a normal daily routine without significant stress and sacrifice as this can be unhealthy for your body. Make sure to allow yourself a balance of productivity, connection with loved ones, adventure, self care, and rest. 

If you’ve already ditched the resolution, its not too late to make a change. Think new routines, not resolutions and try some of the above tips to put them into action!

The Difference between Thankful and Grateful

Let’s start out by saying THANK YOU, WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR YOU! 

 Wait, did we say the same thing twice? 

No, there is actually a difference in thanks and gratitude!

You say “thank you” to others daily, for stuff ranging from getting your Starbucks handed over the counter to someone holding a door open for you when your hands are full. But, are you aware of the difference between being “thankful” versus being “grateful”? 

Kid PT wants to show you that difference and give you 10 ways that gratitude can enhance your life.

Thanksgiving- An American Tradition

Halloween is in our rearview mirror and we are marching toward the major holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving.  If you grew up in the US, you learned about the Pilgrims journey and their difficult conditions during travel and after arrival on what would become United States soil. You heard how the Native American people provided invaluable assistance in learning to survive the harsh, unfamiliar landscape, culminating in the celebration of what we have come to know as Thanksgiving,  The majority of you in the US today, don’t live life pitted against the elements, wild animals, and the challenge of depending on only the food you grow for sustenance, thank goodness.  It is easy to imagine how those desperate first settlers were incredibly excited when the skills they were taught began to show good results, like food growing! 

But, were they only THANKFUL, or were they also truly GRATEFUL?

The Difference between Thankful and Grateful

You (and many of us) were probably taught that when we say “Thank You” to someone, we were showing gratitude. Somewhere along the way, the words became used interchangeably when they aren’t.  According to psychmc.com, “Thankfulness involves how we feel in the moment, and like all feelings, eventually, it fades. Thankfulness is a temporary emotional response to a temporary circumstance.”  Of course, being thankful when something good or positive happens is a beautiful response! It is just not the same as being grateful for something in your life or world.  Again psychmc.com gives a perfect description of the difference, 

“Where thankfulness is an emotion, gratitude is an attitude of appreciation under any circumstance.”

Gratitude involves being thankful, but it is more than that. Gratitude means expressing thankfulness and being appreciative of life daily even when nothing exciting happens.” In other words, being grateful or having gratitude is a choice you make to practice for yourself, to be content with your own life (physically and mentally),even if you aren’t always happy or some negative things happen.  Thankfulness will fade when the excitement is over, whereas gratitude will remain with you, and provide a more durable satisfaction and sense of wellness. 

Gratitude Can Improve Well-Being

According to a 2018 study from the University of California Berkeley, “Research suggests that gratitude may be associated with many benefits for individuals, including better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction, decreased materialism, and more.”

The study states that “Gratitude is also important to forming and maintaining social relationships.” When you engage with someone and express gratitude for them, they are in turn more likely to express gratitude in return. The expression of gratitude is what helps us form new relationships and strengthen our current ones. Various studies have shown the positive effect of relationships on our emotional well-being, and it is one more added benefit of practicing gratitude. 

10 Ways Gratitude can enhance your life

Scientists have started studying the effects of practices lie positive thinking and gratitude, only in recent years.  According to https://www.montereybayparent.com, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude is Dr. Robert Emmons. This “gratitude guru” conducted studies involving gratitude journals and found that when people regularly practice gratitude, they experience the following notable psychological, physical, and interpersonal benefits:

  1. Feel better about their lives overall
  2. Experience higher levels of positive emotions like optimism, enthusiasm, love, and happiness
  3. Are kinder and more generous to others
  4. Have fewer physical problems including pain
  5. Exercise more regularly and eat healthier
  6. Sleep better
  7. Visit the doctor more regularly for checkups
  8. Feel less stressed
  9. Able to cope with stress more effectively and recover more quickly from stressful situations
  10. Live longer–on average, being thankful adds 7 years to our lives!

Wow, I know I’d like to experience those benefits- how about you? 

The article goes on to say that this process of expressing gratitude works by interrupting the cycle of negative, down or upset thoughts.  The beauty of this process is you can do it anytime, anywhere, no special equipment or skills required,  While some people love to write in a beautiful journal with a fancy pen, others find typing or dictating a list into their phone gratifying, while still others feel most comfortable reciting a gratitude list or prayer (aloud or silently). This is a practice that can be shared with loved ones, friends, or children, or used as a time for quiet reflective meditation.  

No one size fits all for a gratitude practice, except that it can make EVERYONE feel better.

Kid PT Staff Gratitude Statements

In the spirit of gratitude, the Kid PT Staff wanted to share our expressions of gratitude with you.

Kelley (Admin): I am so grateful for my wonderful family and the amazing people I work with! 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧❤️

Disha (OT): I’m grateful for my family and my dog ! 🙋‍♀️🐶

Mima (PT): I am grateful for my family, good health and my amazing life!! 👩‍🦱🏆

Wendy (OT): I am grateful for the love I feel each day from my family and friends and for the beauty of this fall season.  Isn’t it just gorgeous? 🧡🍁

Joni (PT/Director): I’m grateful for my family and my health.  I’m also so grateful for my Kid PT family!!!  🚶‍♀️🥰

Ali (PT): I am grateful for any time I get to spend with my family and close friends and for any time I get to spend in the outdoors because spending time with people I love and in nature makes me happy! 😀

Kat (PT): I am grateful:that I am married to my best friend and that I have a wonderful family.  Additionally, I’m grateful for the beautiful outdoors.   🌳👩🏻‍❤️‍👨🏻

Nina (OT): I’m grateful for community and I’m grateful for being surrounded and supported by loved ones! 💞🤲🏻

Melanie (Marketing): I’m grateful for all the people I love, especially my kids. Plus, gratitude for music, reading and theatre making the world a brighter, more positive place to live!  🎭🎶📚

Some of the Kid PT Team at Duke Farms

References:

https://www.psychmc.com/blogs/difference-between-gratitude-and-thankfulness#:~:text=Where%20thankfulness%20is%20an%20emotion,even%20when%20nothing%20exciting%20happens.

https://www.montereybayparent.com/articles/family-advice/10-benefits-of-practicing-gratitude-with-kids/