Secrets to Your Child’s Home Exercise Program


Do you have a hard time completing your child’s home exercise program?

I believe parents too often take on more than the day has hours. Although well-intentioned when you commit to doing a home exercise program with your child it gets pushed back in your day until it just doesn’t happen.

Today’s parents not only have their own home, work, and even church commitments; but they also have their children’s doctors, dentists, soccer/basketball practice, therapy visits, school, and various other commitments to somehow fit into 16 hours of wakefulness. And when you take in to account that most parents in Utah have more than 2 children this fact just compounds the already too busy daily schedule.

By the time you get home and go through the things that each child needs to complete before the next day, the day is gone and their home exercise program has not been performed.

To complicate matters further the exercises given to parents are often complex, time consuming, and cause pain and discomfort.

If you can remember what the exercises are, it is a fight to get your child to do the exercises which puts a strain on your relationship with your child. Doing a home exercise program all too often just adds to the stress of each day.

Click here to see what the research says about the stress caused by home exercise programs.

Below is a table that summarizes the many influences that affect your ability and willingness to carry out home exercise programs:

Theme Sub-theme Categories of coded statements
Characteristics of exercises and home programs Preference for exercises • Exercises that improve outcomes
• Enjoyable exercises
• Exercises without adverse effects (pain, discomfort)
• Non-complex exercises (without the need for technical skills)
Amount of exercises • Time consumption
• Disruption of the affective or recreational family relationship
• Excessive burden, according to the real needs of family
Physiotherapist’s teaching style Building parents’ confidence in implementing the exercise program • Demonstrating exercises with the child
• Providing feedback
• Providing written instructions
• Providing information and support to parents
Helping incorporation into daily routines • Giving reminders to incorporate into daily routines
Incentivizing adherence • Perception of achievements
• Incentives based on goals
• Changes in the child’s exercise performance
• Gaining peace of mind
Monitoring and giving support to adherence • Perception of regular monitoring of home program

Referenced from Journal of Physiotherapy

Home exercise programs do not have to be so miserable; when you start your day with a plan, a basic outline for the day, you and your child have expectations and guidelines for how the day should go. We all do better and achieve more when we have structure.

Read here for more information on structure and routines.

So if you schedule the home exercise program into one of your many after school commitments or your bedtime routine your child already knows what to expect and it becomes easier to do. Another way to get home exercise programs done is to make them fun.

Find a way to turn the exercises into a game, involve your other children and then the exercises are not so burdensome. Try FUNctionabilities specialized programs!

Be wary when you initially introduce more structure to your child because your child will likely react adversely.

Contributed By: August C Quaife MOTR/L


Children's exercise program, Home therapy, Pediatric Occupational Therapy, Pediatric Therapy, Pediatric Therapy in Sandy, Pediatric Therapy in Utah, Utah

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