Paediatric Occupational Therapy Tips from One Parent to Another

Keeping children entertained and developing is a central part of the parenting journey. As a mother and paediatric Occupational Therapist (OT), I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. The seed I want to plant with you today, is one I wish I had spoken about more candidly with my family and friends-before giving birth.

You see, I was blessed to be in receipt of beautiful toys gifted to our family as we continued to grow. But as the piles of toys (noisy and colourful naturally) grew cluttering around my home, I wished I’d told more people about items that REALLY contribute to children’s development.

ID: kitchen utensils displayed on a table.

What my experience and education has taught me, is that engagement in everyday tasks using household items, typically yields the most developmental benefits for little ones.

I’m talking about items you have around the home. Think: paper, pencils, books, containers, buttons, cardboard boxes, zips, scissors, plastic cups, balls, leaves, sticks, rags and much much more. Play does not have to be complicated and can be facilitated using everyday items to build, create and pretend with. In fact, the simpler you keep the materials, the more likely children are to build the motor and cognitive skills to utilise these everyday items for day-to-day tasks!

ID: Paediatric girl holding up orange slices to her eyes in her kitchen.

So, I implore you to keep it simple with the materials you use at home. Engage in play and focus on involving young children in everyday tasks, such as the below, to help them develop physically and cognitively.

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Dressing
  • Shopping
  • Grooming

If you need help identifying physical, social and cognitive developmental milestones by age, this is an excellent resource.

And if you look closely enough, I’m sure you will see that majority of these milestones can be facilitated with household items or by engaging in everyday tasks!

Vivian Krstevski
Occupational Therapy Manager