As I mentioned in my previous blog “how to make a large Floor Pillow”, there are several different reasons that therapists use floor pillows during your child’s therapy sessions. Floor pillows are a wonderful tool and provide a relaxation spot for children of all ages. Below are several ways your large floor pillow can be used with your child at home:.
5 Uses For Large Floor Pillow:
- Kid sandwich: have your child lay in the middle of the pillow, either on his stomach or on his back. Either fold the pillow in half over your child, or place another pillow on top of your child (if you have two). Apply gentle consistent pressure onto the pillow, to feel like a ‘good squish’. Your child can then request to have harder squishes (more pressure) or softer squishes (less pressure). This is a great calming and self-regulation strategy, which can be useful when your child’s body is moving too quickly (to slow him down) or too slowly (to ‘wake’ him up).
- Jumping into the pillow (proprioceptive input): place the pillow at the end of a hallway or across the room, and then have your child run towards the pillow and jump into the pillow (kind of like a ‘cannon ball’). Similarly, you could have your child do an animal walk to get over to the pillow (e.g. bear walk; crab walk; wheelbarrow walk), which would provide more strengthening and proprioceptive input.
- Quiet spot: a large pillow can be the perfect place to ‘take a break’. It can be used as a quiet spot for your child to read a book or listen to calming music to relax and unwind. It can also be a designated spot for your child to take some deep breaths when he is feeling frustrated or overwhelmed. Try to work towards having your child recognize when his body needs a break, and have him request some quiet time in a large pillow. This helps to work on body awareness and self-calming.
- Pillow mountain: a pillow mountain is a fun way to work on strengthening and balance. It is especially beneficial when using more than one pillow; however, one pillow will work just fine. If using more than one, place the pillows in a line, overlapping each other a little bit to form a ‘mountain’. Have your child climb from one side of the pillow mountain to the next by either walking, crawling or using animal walks. You can also add in a board game by placing the game pieces at one side of the mountain and the game board at the other side. Then have your child cross the mountain in order to retrieve the game pieces; moving back and forth will also help to work on his endurance.
- Heavy work (pulling pillow across room): have your child pull the large pillow down a hallway or across a room using both of his hands together. This helps to work on bilateral skills (using both hands together) and also works on upper body strength. Similarly, this type of activity qualifies as ‘heavy work’, meaning that it provides a high amount of input for your child’s body, and can be calming and self-regulating for your child.
While many materials used in the clinic during your child’s therapy session cannot always be replicated at home, a large floor pillow can be integrated into your daily activities! There are several different ways in which you can use a large floor pillow with your child in order to help him with a variety of skills and purposes. Feel free to reach out to your child’s therapist for more ideas or take a peak at the floor pillows used around the gym next time you are at the clinic!