Written By: Annie Ramirez, COVT
OCVT Stone Oak
With school back in session and our regular routines starting up again, vision therapy home activities can sometimes be a challenge to complete. Home activities are incredibly important as repetition at home helps strengthen the neurological pathways that are trained intensely in office.
To help improve your family’s experience with home activities, here are 7 ways to boost home activity motivation and success:
1. Schedule regular days/times for home activities. Some children work best in the morning when they are fresh, in the afternoon after a snack, or after dinner. Setting a timer during activities can also motivate them to work as hard as they can during that time block. When the timer goes off, they are done!
2. Start a calendar. Your vision therapist can create a weekly calendar so your child can place stickers or check marks on the calendar after completing each activity. A calendar is a nice reminder of how many days you have left, and it is a great way for your child to take ownership of their home activities (“I have two more activities to do before we are all done!”). Extra tip – adding their favorite character or animal definitely helps boost motivation!
3. Out of sight, out of mind! Keep those distractions away. Find a quiet area free from the TV, loud music and cell phones/iPads. Sometimes a snack or sibling may be a distractor.
4. Encourage and Support. Those trickier activities can sometimes prompt frustration and low self-esteem. This is the perfect time to acknowledge the effort they are putting into their home activities and give words of encouragement. Always feel free to talk with your vision therapist about ways to modify activities if the challenge level is too high/too low.
5. Allow your child to have choices over the activities. Your child may be more motivated when given choices, since it is more fun to do something if they are given ownership of the activity. This may even look like a negotiation. For example, “We have these four activities to do today and you get to choose the order we do them.” Or, “I am going to give you four activities and you choose which three you want to do and which one you don’t.”
6. Feeling successful is key! Success creates self-confidence, which helps your child become more inclined to continue performing the activities. Your vision therapist will ensure the activities are moderate and have an achievable level of difficulty. One way to track success is to have you or your child set goals for the activity. When your child reaches those goals, be sure to celebrate that accomplishment no matter how big or small! Providing simple and clear explanations and allowing your child to express their comments during activities are other ways to encourage a successful time.
7. Provide incentives. In addition to incentives or prizes they are earning in office, you could strike a deal with your child about other incentives they can work towards with you! They could work towards material rewards (new Legos, game, toy, clothes), challenges/competitions (race to see who can do bead and string the best!), or a trip to their favorite place (ice cream shop, restaurant, park, toy store).