A(attention) to ZZZ (sleep) Tips

We want to help your children thrive! Grab a tip or inspiration from our pediatric therapists who are moms too!

Have a challenge that you’re wrestling with? Reach out to us for support. Contact Ilana Danneman PT, and Creative Director at Fun and Functionat idanneman@funandfunction.com

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Tips Print

We need to attend at school, at home, while eating, reading, listening and moving.

Perhaps the most valuable gift you can give your children is your attention. Probably the most useful tool they can acquire is the ability to attend. Some tips for encouraging attention:

  • Practice whole body listening. Remind children to use their eyes, ears and bodies to listen.
  • Stop before eating. Discuss where the food came from, how it got to the table and say thank you! Teach children good table manners and to be attentive when passing or requesting food.
  • Discuss being attentive while riding a bike, getting in and out of the car, crossing a street, etc. Each activity requires attention to how we use our bodies safely.
  • To improve attention in school, get a wiggle cushion, chewy or fidget to keep the body alert and focused.
  • Use ear muffs to filter noise while reading.
  • Use a study carrel for homework or taking a test.
  • Use images to help children stay focused while doing a writing assignment or following directions.
  • Encourage children to create images in their heads while reading, then draw a picture of what they read.
  • Remind children of your expectations, especially when entering a quiet zone. Limit their sitting time at the beginning, and slowly increase over time. Praise them for their attentive behavior.
  • Learn an instrument. Practice daily for a few minutes and increase the practice time slowly.
  • Remember attention is a learned skill. It requires practice.

Ilana M. Danneman, PT, is the Director of Education, Innovation and Product Selection at Fun and Function. Reach out to her with your questions at idanneman@funandfunction.com

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Tips Print

Bedtime can be frustrating for both parents and children.

Kids with special needs have a particularly hard time slowing down their engines. Read our tips to help quiet down and catch up on some ZZZZZZZZs.

  • Yoga or stretching right before bedtime for 5-10 minutes can do wonders to get calm and ready-for-bed.
  • Take 10 deep breaths. Deep breathing promotes relaxation.
  • Place a feel-good story or worry doll under the pillow (tell it your worries before going to sleep).
  • Give a full body massage to calm and promote circulation.
  • Put the mattress on the floor or create a floor bed using soft egg crates. Just cover with a sheet, add a blanket and you’re ready to say “G’nite.”
  • Create a routine. Use picture cues if necessary.
  • Use a weighted blanket or weighted sleeping bag.
  • Listen to lullaby music or white noise may just do the trick for children who are sensitive to noise.
  • Darken the room or wear an eye mask.
  • Take calcium or melatonin ½ hour before bedtime.
  • Drink a warm glass of milk. Use aromatherapy for calming.


Try these Fun Tools:

Weighted Blanket

Weighted Sleeping Bag


Bubble Art (deep breathing practice)

Do n’ Slide (picture cues)


Ilana M. Danneman, PT: Ilana is the current Director of Education, Innovation and Product Selection at Fun and Function. She can be reached at idanneman@funandfunction.com

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