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One of my favorite things about being a parent of littles AND a pediatric occupational therapist is taking notice of ways to “sneak in” therapy and address skills in daily life. As a therapist, it is easy to say “add this extra activity to your life to support your child’s progress.”

However, as a parent, wouldn’t it be easier if you could view daily activities as opportunities to sneak in some therapy? Personally, I feel viewing daily tasks through a more therapeutic lens is easier and research supports the idea that activities completed in a natural environment (meaning where an activity would normally take place, like home or a playground) can be effective.  

"…wouldn’t it be easier if you could view daily activities as opportunities to sneak in some therapy?"

For example, let's explore feeding the ducks.

Is your child a selective eater working on expanding their variety of tastes and textures?

  • ​​Gather some of the foods you are working on and cut them. Model biting the food into smaller chunks and then throwing it to a duck.
  • If biting a new food is too much, maybe your child could kiss the food good-bye before they throw it to their duck friends.

​Take care in noticing the “just right challenge” for your child, or using a food you know they can use successfully. Once they have success, work up to some of their more challenging foods. If you need help finding that just right challenge, ask your therapist for some ideas. 

Is your child working on building visual-motor skills? 

  • ​Work on having a visual target for throwing the pieces of food to the ducks. Can they hit that rock? Reach the water? Throw it at the ducks feet? 

Is your child working on fine-motor skills? 

  • ​Bring the snacks in a Zip-lock bag and “accidentally” close it after they reach in each time, having your child open the bag after each grab. 
  • Bring larger pieces of a crunchy snack and have them break off pieces before they throw it to their new friends. 

If you are struggling to put on your "therapist goggles," ask your child's therapist about ways to include more therapy into your daily activities.