Introduction to Sensory Lifestyle Activities

Introduction to Sensory Lifestyle Activities

Becoming a mother is a journey one cannot prepare for. But one can welcome it through self education and listening to others. In my profession as an Occupational Therapist (OT) I got first hand experience. I knew what I needed to do to ensure that my son develops an inquisitive mind and a strong body.

Tummy time

So when Josh was born in January of 2014, I got him to practice tummy time from day one. We (my husband and I) would lay down with him on the floor and position Josh’s chest down. His little neck tried to lift up his heavy head and those deep blue eyes looked deep into ours. I could have stayed like that forever.

Doing tummy time from an early time helps kids develop their core. Strong core muscles make it easier to do many physical activities. In adult life, when you get a personal trainer they always start you off with core exercises. The foundations are pivotal to future strength. And this is exactly what we now see a year later. Josh has developed strong muscles and great head control.

Sensory lifestyle - Tummy time

Focus on what’s Important

There are plenty of activities I wanted to try out which I learnt and practiced as an OT. Yet the overwhelming exhaustion of having a newborn meant I had to focus. I focused on the most important exercises first. This meant that I could fit the important exercises in between feeding, changing diapers and sleep schedules. Check out the Dwight Eisenhower’s urgency-importance decision matrix if you need help in prioritizing.

Playing, a social bond

Playing and developing a bond with your child is essential for their development. To get you going I have come up with top 10 activities for each month. They have been tried and tested in my experiences as a mother and an Occupational Therapist with positive results.

It’s important to remember that every child is different. They have different characteristics and develop their own interests at varying paces. Thus, don’t expect identical results. I hope that you use these examples as starting points. Be creative and adapt them to meet the needs of your child.

The range for normal development is quite large. So if the activities in the specific month do not match your child’s developmental level just look ahead or check the previous sections.

This is important. You want to make sure that the experiences that you present to them supports their growth and do not create stress on both of you. Trust yourself and your instinct. If your child shows no interest in the activity he may not be developmentally ready. Don’t push him or you might stress him out. Instead, move on to a different activity. When circumstances permit, you can come back to that particular activity.

Sensory lifestyle - Daddy playing with Josh

Always remember

Consult with your child’s pediatrician about any developmental issues or concerns you may have. Please do not use the internet as a source of truth for your child.

Final notes

When playing with your children, do not limit yourself or your imagination. The activities provided in this blog post should help spark further creativity. Learn to also follow your child’s lead. From joining them in a game they are engaged in to building on a game further.

You can help your child’s muscle and motor skill development by keeping them physically active. This also provides them with opportunities to explore their surroundings. Just take care not to over stimulate your baby. Take a break when you see signs like turning away from the activity, fatigue and/or fussing.

Most important thing: Have FUN!

Past Activities you may also be interested in

Why is Sensory Lifestyle important

Why is Sensory Lifestyle important

Sensory ~ A word often used by Occupational Therapists (OT) when referring to a part of child development. This word is now becoming popular outside of my profession. I hear it from all my mommy friends and parents which I meet at playgrounds when I take my son out to play. Everyone keeps talking about the need to do sensory activities with their babies.

Fantastic news, but not so fast

The spread of a need for sensory activities in our community is great. But keep a weary ear on the context and application of these activities.  Each child is an individual and has a unique sensory profile.

Let’s take an example: making tactile activities such as sensory bags or sensory boxes. Some children might be able to jump straight in and explore the various textures that you have provided. However, some might be more sensitive and require guidance and grading of the tactile input. So the lesson is, know your child, never push an activity onto them but also educate yourself. Hopefully this website will be able to provide you with all the needed information to provide your child with best sensory activities.

 

When I think about my childhood I remember being outside running around with my friends until dusk. My favorite activity included playing ‘shop’. My parents bought me a scale. My girlfriends and I would play for hours. Gathering leaves to use as currency and adding water to sand to create different products to ‘sell’. This is just one of many activities which I enjoyed. I remember that my other favorite activities included getting dirty, climbing trees and playing on the playground structures.

Josh playing in the sand

Josh exploring

Josh exploring

 

Playground fun

Playground fun

Sensory development while living with technology

Times have changed. Technology has engraved into our culture. It is a part of everything we do. It has also lead children to became more sedentary with their preferred activities. Parents feel more pressure to get their kids out to play outside. Finding a balance can be stressful and overwhelming.

But it is possible. And I will show you how.

My goal with this blog is to provide you with information about all our senses. I will also provide you with ideas of activities. Activities which you can encourage your children to do. And in time, they will go back and play like we used to when we were children.

Providing your children with the opportunity to experience our world the right way by integrating their senses should be a parent’s priority. Having a sensory lifestyle is not only for kids with sensory processing disorders. Sensory experiences should be part of everyone’s day. Every day.

Play is an essential part of a child’s development. As children interact with their physical environment they use their sensory systems. Sensations are like ‘food’ for the nervous system. Without a good supply of diverse sensations the nervous system cannot develop to it’s maximum potential. Thus, functioning in the everyday life can become challenging. Learn how to avoid this and help your child start on the right foot.

Nothing better than some messy time

Nothing better than some messy time

 

Exploring grandparents garden

Exploring grandparents garden

 

Peek a boo

Peek a boo

Higher level cognitive activities like reading, writing and play are a result of a well integrated sensory system. The sooner you start the foundational building skills the better. Foundations are pivotal to your child’s success. If you start the process early, you will be helping your child develop coordinated bodies and strong minds. Welcome to living a sensory lifestyle.

~ Urszula