Pediatric physical therapy can be very beneficial for some children. If your child is experiencing problems with motor skills, such as not crawling by 12 months or only walking on tiptoes, it may be wise to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. This healthcare professional can perform an evaluation and determine the right treatment plan for your child. However, just like a regular doctor’s visit, a physical therapy visit may be scary for some kids. As a parent, you can take steps to get your child ready for a physical therapy session.
Talk about the appointment. It’s not a good idea to surprise your child with a physical therapy appointment. You should discuss it a day or two before the session. Tell your child why you are taking him or her to physical therapy and what the visit will entail. Take the time to address your child’s questions and concerns.
Schedule the appointment at an ideal time. The time of your child’s physical therapy appointment can matter a great deal. If it’s possible, try to schedule the appointment after your child has taken a nap and eaten a proper meal. Children who are tired or hungry are more likely to be cranky and not cooperate during a physical therapy appointment.
Bring a comfort item. Going to an unfamiliar place, like a physical therapy office, can be intimidating for many children. That’s why it may be helpful to bring a comfort item, like a blanket or toy, to a physical therapy session. While you are sitting in the waiting area or discussing your child’s medical history with the therapist, your child can hold onto the item and feel comfort.
Dress your child in comfortable clothes. During physical therapy, you want your child to be as comfortable as possible. The physical therapist will have your child move around during the exam. Your child will be able to do this much easier if you have him or her wear loose and athletic clothes.
Remain calm. It’s normal to feel a little anxious about your child’s physical therapy appointment. However, you should not let your child see you this way. If your child notices that you are running around frantically, he or she may start to feel nervous too. Your child may wonder what could be so bad about the appointment. Even if you feel nervous, you should try to stay as calm as possible for your child’s sake. Take a few deep breaths and don’t project your own feelings onto your child.
Offer a small reward. There’s nothing wrong with providing a small reward after your child’s physical therapy session. For example, you could take your child to the playground or the movies afterward. If your child has something to look forward to, he or she may not dread the appointment.
Schedule an appointment for pediatric physical therapy with LeMoine Physical Therapy today.