Play Ball: Parent Bonding

Ever notice the movie/tv trope of a father and child playing a game of catch? It’s meant to show the audience the kind of one-on-one relationship they have.

But why is this scene so common?

I have heard some of my dad friends express their dream to toss the ball around with their kid when they get older. But when I ask why, they are usually unsure of the reason. They just want to. Although that is a fair justification, I wanted to understand why this particular game of catch is important and meaningful to many fathers.

Continue reading

Joyride: Riding a Bike

After learning how to walk, run, jump, and skip, the next milestone on your kid’s docket is riding a bike. Although this skill is not necessary for their overall development, it does provide a wide range of benefits to your child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being (like building lower body strength and endurance, boosting mood, releasing excess energy, adjusting arousal level necessary to focus, etc). I think it’s also one of those quintessential kid activities that parents actually look forward to teaching.

But bike riding, like all the other skills before it, doesn’t happen overnight (Maneuver this steerable machine throughout the neighborhood without falling? And you call this fun!?). Kids eventually grasp their first mode of independent transportation with practice and patience, but why do some rise to the challenge easily while others struggle? Let’s find out from an OT perspective.

Continue reading

Coffee Chat: Old Enough

Have you ever seen videos of Asian kids coming home from school? Like this one.

I find these fascinating. Yes, the appliances they have look incredibly simple and efficient (and make me want to buy them), but can we talk about these kids? They seem way too young to be that impressively responsible. I couldn’t picture my 5-year-old prepping dinner or cleaning the house all by himself.

So, when surfing through Netflix shows to binge, I assumed Old Enough was the same thing.

Old Enough (or My First Errand in Japan) is a reality show featuring kids between the ages of 2-5, running their first independent errands throughout town. Despite our initial cringe of SENDING THESE KIDS OUT ON THEIR OWN for the sake of entertainment, their adventures are carefully planned and approved by their families well in advance. If anything were to go wrong (like missing a bus stop or walking home in the dark), the camera and production safety crews are ready to intervene. The show’s intention is to witness and celebrate these little kids as they accomplish something for the very first time. Although the tasks are fairly simple, it’s hard to imagine our own kids taking on the same challenges by themselves with no supervision.

Continue reading

A Resilient State of Mind: Dealing with Failure

Part of a child’s job is to learn, and failure is an inevitable part of learning. Failure is also an inevitable part of building resilience. Resilience is the ability to face life’s stressors/challenges, learn from mistakes, and recover. It’s a big cause and effect game happening in your child’s brain.

Our kids fail all the time, especially when communicating what they want or need in the first years of life. As they get older and experiment with boundaries and connect information, they can organize all of that cause and effect and turn it into action. They figure out what works (asking for help) and what doesn’t (throwing a fit), learning and adapting with each new situation.

But somewhere in their early school years, our kids can start viewing failure as a bad thing, limiting their exposure to new experiences, encounters, and achievements. What caused this switch and how can we help our kids embrace failure rather than avoid it?

Continue reading

Holiday Gift Guide 2022: 4+ years

Kids grow up so fast and the gifting selections out there reflect that as they reach school-age.

For early school-age kids, executive functions are steadily maturing and they can focus and recall information more efficiently. They seek to play with others, continuously refining their social skills and looking for friendly competition.

Honestly, there are so many options out there for this age group that it can be difficult figuring out what gifts are both beneficial to your child’s development (because yes, they’re still growing and learning), and will also be enjoyed for the long haul.

Here’s our top picks for 2022 for 4 and up.

Continue reading