1. Keep it Consistent- Remember when your kids used to complain about brushing their teeth at night? It took a while, but eventually they learned to incorporate it into their routine. In the same way, we find there is less resistance to doing the CLEAR Treatment work at home, when it is done at the same time and place each day, so develop a schedule and stick to it.
2. Build in Entertainment- Fill an iPod with the kind of music your child loves. If she enjoys reading, get her stocked up with audiobooks so she can listen to great stories while she works. You could also set up her workstation in front of the TV so she can enjoy her favorite movies.
3. Make it a Family Affair- While your son or daughter is working out in the scoliosis traction chair, it’s an excellent time to dive into your own physical practice, whatever it might be. The more we can illustrate that scoliosis exercise is an essential part of having a healthy life, the better.
4. Incorporate Brain Teasers- Consider playing some brain teaser games as a family and include your child in the fun. Not only will this make the time go by faster and more enjoyably for her, but studies have shown that this can help to stimulate the neural connection between her brain and her spine.
5. Offer an Assistant- Perhaps younger siblings would enjoy being an “assistant” to their hard-working brother or sister. They could hold the stopwatch and let them know when time’s almost up, help fasten buckles, strap on weights, and generally provide company while your child does his/her scoliosis exercises.
6. Spark a Dialogue- In “Recognizing and Celebrating Your Progress” we discussed ways patients can tune-in to the small but steady changes occurring in their body during treatment. You might ask your child some of those suggested questions and stimulate a conversation about what they are experiencing.
7. Create a Progress Log- When our kids are very little, we record their evolving height on door frames and charts. Getting taller is like a right of passage to them, and they love when you notice their “accomplishment.” In the same way, you may find it helpful to keep a log of how many workouts she’s done and what positive shifts have happened as a result of them. The more she sees her progress, the more she will want to push forward toward more.
8. Encourage Curiosity- There are many elements to the CLEAR Treatment process. It will take some time for your child to get the hang of the home workouts. Questions will certainly arise and you aren’t expected to know all the answers when they do. Encourage her to write down her questions and bring them to us next time she’s in the office. It’s our pleasure to speak with patients about what they are experiencing, and this is a great opportunity for your child to practice taking an active part in her relationship with her doctors.
9. Give Your Trust- Being a kid can be tough. Not a whole lot of decisions are up to you. So let’s give her every opportunity to take ownership of her own healing. Once you are confident she understands what needs to be done, certainly make yourself available to help her when she asks, but otherwise trust that she can do it. You may find she develops a certain sense of pride around knowing how to care for her own body.
10. Offer Plenty of Encouragement- Tell your child how proud you are of her and how you are inspired by her hard work. No matter how young or old we are, it makes a world of difference when someone acknowledges our efforts. When we know we are appreciated, we want to do even better.
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