Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative

Physical activity for your child with a disability

physical activityBy Megan MacDonald, PhD & Erica Twardzik
(Oregon Parenting Education Week Newsletter – 2015)

You are your child’s advocate for physical activity and exercise. One way you can support your preschool child with a disability to be active is by making sure that physical activity is included in your Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). An IFSP is a plan that you help to create so your child has access to the services that they need. Physical activity/physical education is included in this plan. The steps below are ways you can get the ball rolling for inclusion of physical activity services to an IFSP in Oregon.

Step 1: Make a referral
To create an IFSP for your child you will first need to make a referral. Referring your child will include sharing concerns that you have about your child’s development. In the state of Oregon services for young children with a disability are provided by the education department: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1690

Step 2: Evaluation
An evaluation will help you learn your child’s specific strengths and needs in order to be physically active. This can help you and your doctor find physical activities that will be fun and the right fit for your child.

Step 3: What is available around you?
Physical activity in your area can be found through local community organizations. Well established programs in the state of Oregon include, but are not limited to: Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Clubs, Parks & Recreation, Family YMCA’s, and other local community based programs. You can also contact United Way to ask about help for your child in these programs.

Step 4: Remember you are your child’s strongest believer!
The goal is to find physical activities that your child will enjoy. But, if your child is having difficulty with the activity you can ask for the right supports be added to your child’s IFSP. This will make sure that your child has the best chance at success. You as parents have the power to make a positive impact on your child’s physical activity and exercise experiences.

Establishing Children’s Sleep Routines

By Denise Rennekamp, M.S.
(Oregon Parenting Education Week Newsletter – 2015)

Adequate sleep is important to your child’s overall health, growth, and development. Children who do not get enough sleep are less mentally alert and easily distracted. Lack of sleep can also cause a child to be more physically impulsive. Establishing a calming naptime/bedtime routine can help your child get to sleep faster and awake rested. Although each child and family situation is unique, the following ideas may be helpful.

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGive children some transition time. Say, “it’s naptime in 10 minutes” or “after I read you a story, it will be time to go to sleep.” It may help to use a timer so children will know when time is up.
  • Set rules about number of stories, drinks of water, getting out of bed, etc.
  • Plan a wind-down activity. Read a story, turn down the lights, play quiet music, or just talk. TV, movies, screen time, roughhousing, or active games are not good choices prior to naptime or bedtime.
  • Provide children with security. Let her have her favorite stuffed animals, blankie, night light, flashlight by the bed, or the door open.
  • Talk about fears and anxieties. Do a “monster check” if that seems to be a concern.
  • Avoid activities that compete with resting or going to sleep. Have adults and older children observe similar quiet time. This will encourage the little ones to go to sleep.
  • Decide on a regular bedtime. Set bedtime 10 to 12 hours before the child needs to get up. If a child is getting up too early, he may be going to bed too soon. On the other hand, if a child is grumpy or drowsy, he may not be getting to bed early enough.

“Consistency is key to success. If you are co-parenting, discuss bedtime routines and work as a team. A well-rested child equals a more rested parent.”

For more parenting tips contact your local OPEC Parenting Hub!