At Thrive, we miss seeing our families in person, but we are so happy we have been able to reach out and see our families online! For many children and families, this can be a challenging time because therapy is on old or transitioning to teletherapy. Therapists are struggling to reach out to children, parents have multiple tasks to take care of, and families are feeling overwhelmed. In this week’s episode of Tube To Table, Heidi is joined by Jamie, a member of the Tube Weaning team. Our team at Thrive wants to reframe many of the things that people are doing everyday. Many of the routines and activities you are already doing are likely therapeutic, whether it is official therapy or not. So what to do when your feeding therapy is on hold? It’s OKAY! Mealtimes are so much more than just building oral motor skills and working on strategies, mealtimes are about the togetherness and comfort. In this week’s episode, Heidi and Jamie will talk through how you can help your child throughout this time and why it’s important to give yourself a break!
Many families are likely already doing a lot of what we would recommend. This extra time with family and loved ones may be a great opportunity to build different skills. Time together with family is incredibly therapeutic and healing if you can close the door on other frustrations you may have, take a breath, and enjoy time together. Families can feel overwhelmed right now, but many families feel that they have more time to enjoy time with family members and work on family mealtimes. With this change in routine, there may be more opportunities for mealtimes to focus on togetherness, comfort, and social engagement. You ARE working with your child by modeling foods, exposing them to different foods, and using mealtimes as a way to build attention and comfort around food.
For some children who may feel stuck on preferred foods, this may be a time where parents can work on exposure, especially since there may not always be time to have their favorite foods. It could be a nice time to have other food opportunities in the house. Think about how adults may respond differently to changes in our routine or find comfort in certain foods. It is important to understand that children may respond this same way. Your child may show less interest in foods they previously enjoyed OR may show more of an interest in foods they see their parents eat!
Many parents express concern about regression and often ask, “Will my child regress if they miss therapy?” This is a common misconception and it is important to remember that just because something looks different, doesn’t mean it is a regression. You can build on those strengths and use this as a time to accept that there might be changes, and that’s okay.
Communication with your therapist is so important during this time. Therapy might look different, even if you are attempting teletherapy, so be easy on yourself. Have open communication with your therapist. It’s important to have a conversation about how to implement strategies at home. You can also ask therapists what would be most helpful for the team as far as what would provide the most carryover. That might look different than what you’re used to, but that’s okay. It’s going to look different as everything does at this time.
Here are a few main tips to keep in mind:
1.) Remember you are working on a lot of things already, don’t feel like you need to add in one more thing. Keep this easy and part of your family routine.
2.) Working on variety and new situations and settings is probably helpful for some children. You are always working on something, even if that looks different.
3.) Reach out to a therapist if that is helpful to talk about how carryover can happen to the home environment.
We are all stronger than we think. More creative than you think. Kids are stronger than you think!