Everyone has at least one of “that kind” of a friend. The home remedies type. The one who tells you to cook up a stew of elderberry tea and lemon juice when you have a cold. And put garlic in your baby’s ear to prevent ear infections.
Well, if you think you’re about to get a bunch of that kind of stuff from me, breathe easy. I’m not going to talk about those kinds of home remedies.
Instead, I want to explore some simple, do-it-yourself procedures that can address developmental delays with tools that you already have at your disposal.
These suggestions are fun, easy, and will cost you nothing. So go ahead, give it a try. And let me know how it works.
DEVELOPMENTAL MALADY: Fine motor challenges, difficulty manipulating objects with accuracy.
HOME REMEDY: Use an old empty Tupperware, storage canister, or anything with a flexible plastic lid. Cut two small lines in the center of the lid to form an X. Then have your child slide marbles, coins or other small objects through the X- shaped slot. Make sure to supervise your child while s/he is working with small objects, and make sure s/he doesn’t place small objects in his/her mouth.
THE SECRET SAUCE: The reason this works is that your child finds it fun and satisfying to clink objects through the slot. As he works to drop objects one at a time, he is increasing finger dexterity and improving his grasp and release of objects.
MALADY: Sensory seeking behaviors; overly “touchy” with peers, seems to be “hands-on” too much of the time.
HOME REMEDY: Fill a plastic bin with rice, macaroni or beans. Allow your child to explore, pour, and play with it like a sandbox.
THE SECRET SAUCE: Your sensory seeking child feels most comfortable in his/her skin while receiving sensory input. The sensory bin you have created allows him/her to stimulate the sense of touch and helps him/her regulate his/her behavior.
MALADY: Generalized delays due to hyperactivity; trouble focusing on play activities and interacting with adults.
HOME REMEDY: Have your child sit in a high chair to interact with you for an enjoyable activity 10-20 minutes each day. This can be a puzzle, play-dough, blocks, or any activity of your choosing.
THE SECRET SAUCE: Many language delays and play skill deficits occur when the child has trouble focusing. For many children, the security and restraint of a high chair help him hone in on activities, make eye-contact with an adult, and begin to interact with the caregiver. In my experience, I have seen rapid growth and increase in skills from this seemingly small intervention.
As you are most likely aware, home remedies can never take the place of clinical expertise. If you have concerns about your child’s health and development, reach out to your pediatrician or directly to ChildLink to request an evaluation. An early intervention therapist can work directly with you to tailor an extensive “home remedy” that perfectly suits your needs and that of your child.
By Chaya Glatt